Snow days and sick days can spell very idle activities for adults, especially the elderly population. For some the option to turn up the thermostat when the mercury drops outside is a luxury they cannot afford. Moving around and finding activities that naturally heat the home and the body are alternatives to sluggish behavior.
Chores to Warm the Home
Before reaching for the thermostat try any one of these indoor chores to raise the temperature a few degrees:
- Vacuum – running an electric carpet duster will radiate heat in the immediate vicinity through the exhaust of the vacuum.
- Bake – heat the kitchen and adjacent areas by baking with the oven. To save energy bake multiple items at once, such as cookies, a casserole and breakfast bread at the same time.
- Do the Laundry – the dryer naturally emits a small amount of heat, try running several loads back-to-back to conserve on energy as well as getting the most heat output.
Activities that Warm the Body
The key to staying warm is to keep the body’s circulation going. Activities that will promote body heat may also burn calories!
- Exercise – a home gym can be a great way to turn up the heat – try jogging on a treadmill, doing Pilates or yoga on a mat, or lift weights.
- Play – try active games with children such as hide-and-seek, jump rope, tag or television-based games like the Wii Fit that require movement.
- Build or Renovate – start or finish a home improvement project such as refinishing the dining table, painting the upstairs bathroom, or replacing all of the light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs.
Stay Warm in Bed or on the Couch
When illness strikes it is sometimes best to rest up and convalesce with a cold. To encourage a speedy recovery keep the bed or couch warm with:
- Hot water bottles – these old-fashioned containers are still a favorite for many. Fill with near-boiling water, wrap a towel or two around it and place on the chest, the feet or wherever warmth is desired. To heat a bed before getting in it place the hot water bottle into the bed without the towel around it for 10-15 minutes.
- Dress in layers – thermal underwear makes a good first layer paired with sweat pants, a sweatshirt and shawl or vest. If fever strikes one or two layers can be removed.
- Protect the Head and Feet – the body loses much of its heat through the top and bottom so keep warm footwear on and don a hat or scarf to prevent the loss of heat when resting.
Warm Up Sedentary Moments
Introduce new habits when sitting still that will still promote circulation:
- Move the Limbs – every hour or so move the limbs – make circular motions with the fingers while the arms are outstretched, lift one foot off the floor at a time and circle the toes in midair.
- Warm Drinks – keep a hot pot of tea nearby to warm up while reading or watching television.
- Knit or Crochet – warm yarns doubled with moving fingers and hands makes this pastime a favorite in cold climates.
- Massage the Feet – warm up the feet with a wooden foot roller, vibrating foot massager or an old-fashioned foot rub.
Stay Warm this Winter
In addition to staying warm at home there are many places that offer an oasis from the cold temperatures:
- Take a power walk in the shopping mall
- Swim laps at the local YMCA
- Join a craft or book group in the local café
- Visit the library
- Go to a local museum or art gallery
- Take children to the science museum
- Catch a movie and cuppa with a friend
- Dine at a restaurant on Jazz night for warm food and live music
- Take a class or workshop
Don’t let cabin fever get the best of this winter – go out and enjoy local events, visit friends and family and stay warm while filling your social meter.