Beat Winter Woes with These Healthy Tips

Winter might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a quite dangerous time for retirees. As we age, our bodies have a more difficult time defending from sickness and recovering from injury. But you can take preventative measures to be sure that you can spend this winter snuggling up to loved ones, not sniffling in bed.

Cold & Flu – According to Contac Cold and Flu, Cold and flu season spans October to May, with the peak of cases popping up in February. To avoid the aches and pains that come with cold and flu, you should be sure to wash your hands after coming into contact with others and before meals. Keep hand sanitizer handy when there is no soap and water nearby. Getting enough sleep, drinking the recommended amount of water, and reducing stress also help to keep your immune system strong. It is also recommended that you get the flu shot to avoid illness.

Frostbite and Hypothermia – The older we get, the more difficult it is for our bodies to retain body heat, which means that senior citizens run a higher risk of suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. To reduce your risk, be sure to cover as much skin as possible when you leave the house and to be on the lookout for signs of danger. According to the American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging, these symptoms include shivering, pale or ashy skin, a feeling of sleepiness, confusion, slowed heart rate, or trouble walking.

Heartburn – Ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes… the food around the holidays is exceptionally good, but not always so good for you. Bigger meals can lead to heartburn that is less than merry, so you should try to take a preventative heartburn medication and eat slowly and in moderation to avoid paying for your meal later.

Dry Skin – Dry, itchy skin can make winter uncomfortable. To go from scratchy to smooth, be sure to moisturize regularly with an over-the-counter moisturizer, especially after a bath or shower as this removes moisture from the body. Running a humidifier can also help keep skin soft.

Arthritis – Many sufferers report that their arthritis is more painful in the winter. Ease arthritis pain by staying warm, which includes taking warm baths and enjoying some time in the hot tub. It’s also important to stay active in order to keep muscles strong.

Slips and Falls – Suggesting winter boots with traction might sound more like fashion advice than health advice, but slippery sidewalks and parking lots can be a serious issue for senior citizens, who already run a risk of being injured in a fall due to brittle bones. Choose footwear that is as functional as it is stylish. Snow might be falling, but you shouldn’t be, too.

General Unhealthy Feeling – If you’re just feeling a little bit crummy this winter, it might be because you need to make time for fitness in your schedule. We’ve written before about the top-quality exercise programs and amenities that come with being a Sherwood Oaks resident. Be sure to use them! Combined with a full menu of healthy foods, we are your partner in staying active and healthy this winter.

Some great news for the winter season (and every season)? Residents of retirement communities are shown to have a longer lifespan with greater quality of life because of the balanced lifestyle that they are able to take advantage of. With so many opportunities for socialization, exercise, and nutritional food, it’s easy to see why retirement communities like Sherwood Oaks are a healthy decision.

Make the Most of Your Daily Walk

You may just think that “Walk this Way” is a catchy song, but did you know that there are actually ways for you to make your walk more effective? With so much room on campus to make walking outdoors a part of your healthy lifestyle, Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community is perfect for avid walkers. Here are some tips to help you make the most of every step!

  • Keep a good pace. According to the University of California, a person who weighs 150 pounds who walks at 3.5 miles per hour on a flat surface will burn 300 calories in one hour.

  • Step up! You might be walking more (or less) in a day than you think! If you have a goal of how much you would like to walk in a day, it’s a great idea to purchase a pedometer. They are inexpensive and can count all of the steps you take in a day, whether you are working out or running around the kitchen cooking a meal.

  • Pump it up. Pumping your arms can turn a nice walk into a full body workout! Don’t forget your upper body when it comes to your daily walk. If you’re looking for an extra challenge, try out some hand weights!

  • Walking the same course every day might help to keep you on a good schedule, but it can also get a little bit boring. Try to liven your workout by walking different paths on different days of the week or by getting off campus every once in a while for more diverse terrains. The Cranberry area has plenty of public park space to make the most of, and we are happy to recommend one to you!

  • Don’t be afraid to look for some support. If you are having a little bit of difficulty getting around or want some extra support on your walk, consider a cane or walking poles to help you out.

  • Remember to wear comfortable and supportive shoes, also.

  • Want to speed up a little bit? According to, “Instead of taking longer steps, take faster steps. Lengthening your stride can increase strain on your feet and legs.”

  • Find a buddy. Walking with a friend is a great motivator. And there are plenty of friends to walk with at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community. In fact, we have a walking group led by our fitness director called “Take a Walk with A Friend.” The group walks all over the campus, including the 3 miles of covered walkways, trails through the woods, and around our lake.  This organized activity takes place outdoors from May through November, although many residents can be seen walking outdoors throughout the winter. For more information, email us at

On your marks, get set, walk!

Stay Healthy and Active in Retirement

It can be a struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle in your retirement, but we like to think we make it easy at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community.

We have a fantastic fitness center available to residents at no additional cost to your package. The fitness center is run by Wellness and Health Promotion Manager, Mr. Bill Burtner. Bill is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania holding a master’s degree in sports science who is also a Certified health Fitness Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine.

Bill serves as a personal trainer to each of our residents. After their move-in, Bill contacts new residents and invites them to visit the fitness center, where he can evaluate their health and goals and design a personal workout plan just for them. Our other more structured work out options include weekly exercise classes, Tai Chi, yoga, aquacize, and therapeutic massage.

In spring, summer, and fall, Bill also conducts a walking program and walks with our residents around our 84-acre campus.

For those who like to do their workouts on their own, our fitness center includes top-notch Keiser strength machines which operate on pneumatic air pressure. We also have treadmills, steppers, bicycles, and rowing machines, all accessible 24/7 to fit the schedules of our residents. Our campus also includes wooded trails and paths around our lake, and connected covered walkways between patio homes that provide three miles of cement walkways, perfect for connecting with friends while getting a healthy workout in.

There is no reason that you cannot have a relaxing retirement that also involves regular, healthy workouts. For more information on the fitness options available to you at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community, watch this short video or call us at (800) 642-2217.