How to Keep Warm in Winter | ƹƵ


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Keeping warm and well in winter

Keeping warm in winter is especially important as we get older as changes to our bodies often mean cold weather and winter bugs affect us more than they used to. The good news is there are things you can do to stay warm and well.

Keep moving

A little bit of activity now and then is a great way to help you keep warm, as well as help you maintain strength and mobility. So try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to keeping moving, so it's important you do something that feels right – and safe – for you.

If you're not sure where to start, or you have a long-term condition that makes moving more difficult, we have advice and tips on how you can get active in a way that works for you.

Find out more about how to get active

Eat well

It can sometimes be difficult to keep up the motivation to prepare meals. But it's good to try and keep to a routine where you can. Hot food and drinks can help you to keep warm, so try to have one hot meal a day and as many hot drinks as you can.

Try to have a range of foods in your diet and try to eat fruit and vegetables each day – frozen and tinned vegetables can be just as good as fresh. It's also a good idea to keep your cupboards stocked with some basics just in case you can't get out to the shops – whether due to illness or bad weather.

The main thing to remember is that it's better to eat a bit of what you fancy than to eat nothing – even if it's just a slice of cake.

If you've recently lost weight without meaning to, or if you have a smaller appetite than usual, visit the to find out why this might be and what might help.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has some tips for saving money on your shopping and reducing food waste, as well as some budget meal ideas. If you're worried about being able to afford food, the BDA also has some information on local food banks and useful helplines.

Get your winter vaccinations

Respiratory viruses are more widespread in winter, so it's especially important to get your vaccinations. Vaccinations are particularly important this winter as flu and coronavirus levels are expected to rise.

Find out who's eligible for the spring coronavirus booster jab

You're entitled to a free flu jab from the doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • are aged 65 or over
  • care for someone, such as a friend or family member
  • are under 65 and have a serious long-term health condition
  • live in the same house as someone who is immunocompromised
  • are in long-stay residential care.

When you get your flu jab, check if you're also eligible for the pneumo vaccine, which helps protect you from pneumonia, and the Shingles vaccine.

We have more detailed information about the flu – whether you're wondering what the symptoms are or you want to know where you can get the flu jab.

Find out more about the flu jab

Make sure your home is warm enough

Try to heat your home to a steady and comfortable temperature throughout the day in the rooms you use most, such as the living room and bedroom – usually around 18°C (64°F) is ideal. If there are rooms you don't use, like a spare bedroom, turn off the radiators in that room and close the doors. This will help you save on energy costs while keeping warm in winter.

At dusk, close all the curtains and keep the windows closed to help keep heat in when the weather's at its coldest. 

If you have wood or laminate floors, you may want to consider putting rugs down to insulate your home.

If you're having trouble with the costs of heating your home, you might be entitled to government support. 

Find out more about financial support with energy bills

Help with the cost of living

You might be entitled to some support, such as Pension Credit or Attendance Allowance, which could help you stay on top of your finances.

Stop the spread of germs

As well as getting vaccinated, there are some other simple measures we can take to reduce the spread of illness. Regularly washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to stop germs from spreading. 

You can also:

  • catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue
  • choose to wear a face covering in busy indoor spaces, like shops
  • leave windows ajar to let fresh air circulate when meeting people indoors
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

It's a good idea to keep some hand santiser with you when you're out and about in case you can't access a sink or bathroom to wash your hands.

Wrap up well

Wearing plenty of layers is the best way to keep warm in winter. If you're heading out, make sure you take some extra layers – even if you don’t need them immediately. It's a good idea to be prepared because the temperature can drop significantly when the sun goes in.

Wearing several thin layers will keep you warmer than wearing one thick layer, as layers trap warm air between them.

Our bodies react to the cold by redirecting our blood away from our hands and feet and towards our vital organs, so part of keeping our hands and feet warm is about keeping our whole body warm. 

Find out more about how to keep your hands and feet warm

Stay stocked up

It's a good idea to make sure you're prepared – winter weather can be unpredictable and can stop you from getting out and about.

Think about stocking up on cold and sore throat remedies as well as food, in case it's harder to leave the house. Your pharmacist can give you advice on what might help if you're feeling under the weather. You might also want to get big bottle of water in case the water supply is interrupted.

It can also help to keep a list of important contacts, such as loved ones or
emergency numbers, by the phone in case you need them.

We've got more information and advice to help you make sure you’re prepared if we're told to expect severe weather, especially winter storms, ice or snow.

Find out more about our cold weather advice and tips

Be aware of your heart and circulation

The cold can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack, as well as hypothermia. If you think you or someone else is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 999 (or 112 from a mobile) immediately and ask for an ambulance.

For a stroke, think FAST:

– Is the face drooping on one side?

A – Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

S – Is speech slurred?

TTime to call 999 if you spot any one of these signs.

Many people experience severe chest pain during a heart attack – but the symptoms can be different for different people. 

Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature below 35°C and it's a medical emergency, just like a stroke or a heart attack.


For non-emergency health advice, call 111 and in an emergency, call 999.

Take extra care when out and about

It's important to be careful when out and about. In the autumn, fallen leaves and rain can make the ground very slippery. And in winter, ice and slow can seriously increase your risk of falls.  

You might find that shoes with non-slip soles are helpful.

Our Staying steady information guide has more information and advice about how you can reduce your risk of falling.

Download Staying steady information guide (PDF, 4 MB)

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ƹƵs.

The development of this information was supported by an educational grant from Seqirus.

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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