The first day of Spring in 2022 was March 20th! That means warmer temperatures, Spring festivals, Easter, and hopefully new flowers and vegetables.
Since winter can be challenging for even the most resilient people, Spring brings a revival in many parts of our lives, including our health. Since senior health is a topic that we care a lot about here at Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa, here are five tips to welcome in Spring!
Start with a Health Checkup
Seniors should see their doctors regularly for optimum health, but a Spring health checkup is a must!
Although Spring brings new beginnings and lots of new outside growth, that means it brings all of that pesky pollen that causes allergies. Most seniors would know if they have allergies, but it is possible to develop all kinds of allergies later in life, including allergies to pollen, mold, or all types of animal hair.
A Spring health checkup is also a perfect time for a senior fitness assessment. Perhaps your senior loved one feels stiffer than usual and needs to work on their flexibility. Their doctor should be able to give recommendations on senior exercises that are appropriate for their mobility level.
Try New Exercises
After getting a health checkup, it might be time to try out some new workouts!
Being active is essential for better overall senior health. Most seniors need about two to three hours of active exercise a week, or about thirty minutes every day. But winter is always an awkward time! Many seniors might want to be involved, but it’s easier to stay inside and not be active. Others might have a dedicated fitness routine that isn’t affected by the changing seasons.
For those who need some motivation, either way, the National Council on Aging has a senior fitness guide with lots of ideas for getting fit this Spring!
Take a Nature Walk
After being in colder conditions (seniors feel temperature different than the rest of us), with Spring comes much warmer temperatures. So it’s an excellent opportunity to get out for a nature walk!
This can look different for each senior, especially since mobility levels are different. But, there are many benefits of going on a nature walk (or just being outside in general) for your health. Many seniors enjoy going on a nature walk to:
- Spend time with their families
- Socially distance appropriately with friends
- Get some fresh air
- Get some sun
- Help to adjust depressed feelings or depressed mood
- Get some Vitamin D
- Explore a new part of the state (We recommend The Waterfall Loop at Mount Diablo State Park!)
Senior health can be complex, but there are many benefits to getting out and getting some exercise! Doing a nature walk is just one of the ways that a senior can gain better health overall.
Soak Up the Sun
Not all seniors are getting out and about yet because of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. That’s ok! A walk in your backyard or down the street will get you the exercise, fresh air, and sun exposure that you need.
Although we live in California, where it’s “always sunny,” a senior should always take advantage of warmer days and get out when they can.
Getting as much sunlight as possible is essential for their health. The sun helps our bodies produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps our bodies prevent disease, lowers blood pressure, and supports healthy bones. That’s why so many seniors might feel down when they are inside more during winter: less sun means less Vitamin D.
Explore New Recipes
“Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all its flavor” – William Cowper, The Task
If your senior loved one enjoys seasonal fruits and vegetables, Springs is the perfect time to explore new recipes and create nutritious meals!
A varied diet is key to improving senior health because different seasons bring fresh foods with health benefits. By trying out new recipes with these healthy foods, seniors can develop or refine their healthy eating habits. If a senior already has good eating habits, it’s important to remember that variety is part of having a nutritionally balanced diet.
For seniors who might not have healthy eating habits, either directed by their doctor, friends, or family members, experimenting with recipes can help them discover foods that they like! Reading a recipe can also be a mental challenge, which could help their overall mental health.
Keeping Up with Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa is a nonprofit dedicated to helping our partners deliver nutritious meals to seniors in our community. We value and prioritize senior health since preparing and eating nutritious meals can be difficult for home-bound seniors.
We do have a newsletter where the community can keep up with our fundraising activities and our impact. Sign up to join that here today!