Villagers prove ‘oldies’ are ‘coldies’

Story: Joe Angione

Winter is officially over—what there was of it this year. Before moving to The Villages, my wife and I were accustomed to colder winters. We worried Florida’s heat would be difficult, if not impossible, to bear.

There were friends who told us our blood would become thinner and we’d get used to the hot weather. But our first few years here gave no indication we were adjusting to the heat. We kept air conditioning on all year—at considerable expense. We were outdoors as little as possible. And in the so-called winter months, we laughed to see longtime Villagers riding their golf carts wearing snow jackets, gloves, woolen hats, and even sporting lap robes to brave an occasional 50-degree day. What happened to them? Did their blood eventually thin and make them chill easier? Could this happen to us?

Dr. Robert Vyge, a board-certified internist at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in North Carolina, says, “No. The concept of developing ‘thinner blood’ by moving from a colder Northern climate to a warmer Southern climate is only a myth. People may often feel colder at times after moving to the South…but it has to do with a person’s tolerance for cold weather changing, and perhaps to a loss of some ‘insulating’ fat that may disappear after being more active in a warmer climate.”

Although blood-thinning doesn’t happen, after five or six years, we, like most Villagers, lost our tolerance for the cold. Florida’s tropical weather ceased to be a sweaty inconvenience. Unfortunately, weight loss wasn’t a factor. My wife and I tacked on some “retirement pounds” that accumulate no matter where you live.

Most likely, age reduced our tolerance for cold and explains our acclimation to Florida’s warmth. Age is the great tolerance breaker: As we age, we’re less able to take cold weather, to exercise, to work, to remember and think clearly, and also less able to roll with the punches life throws at us.

In the Angiones’ house, adapting to Florida’s warm weather is saving us some money. Our A/C is on only at night, and we’ve lost interest in expensive ski trips, cruises to Alaska, or exploring Antarctica.

Last Christmas, my wife did the unthinkable. She bought us a lap robe for our winter early-morning golf dates. “Oldies” really are “coldies.” It’s kind of embarrassing.