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Get Active and Get Outside to Avoid the February Blahs
Source: The Care Guide
Got the February blahs? They may not be
defined in any medical textbook, but Canadians - especially the elderly
- know exactly what they are.
"Older people suffer more from
'the blahs' than other age groups," says Dr. Barry Goldlist, medical
director of the Geriatric Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Rehab,
Canada's largest provider of adult rehabilitation services. "For one
thing, they feel the cold more. They can feel chilly even at normal
temperatures, never mind in bitter February weather."
activity is key to overcoming the blahs - but being active is harder in
the winter. "For older people, the most common - and safest - activity
is walking," says Dr. Goldlist. "But walking outdoors is much harder
with ice and snow on the ground. For one thing, risk of falling is
"However, older people can find many places to walk
indoors. Those who live in apartment buildings can take advantage of
the long hallways to do some vigorous walking. Many shopping malls also
have seniors' walking clubs. These let older people meet peers and walk
"Some exercises can be done in limited spaces at
home - push-ups, sit-ups and running on the spot, or even tai chi and
yoga. Before you embark on a winter exercise program, check with your
doctor to see what you can safely do."
Social interaction is
also vital to keep 'the blahs' at bay. "Studies show even phone contact
with those who are house-bound decreases mortality," says Dr. Goldlist.
"Older people who can't get out should use a phone to keep in touch.
For those who enjoy animals and are used to them, pets can also be a
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