Be Bold This Winter Cold
The Winter season can be busy and exciting. With so many events like family dinners, holiday parties, and the preparation and planning for vacations, we have plenty of distractions to keep us from focusing on our health and taking care of ourselves as we normally would. With shorter days and colder weather, finding the motivation to stay healthy and fit can be difficult. And that can lay the foundation for a weakened immune system, posing a greater risk of developing illness or injury. No wonder they call it the winter blues. In winter, viruses and bacteria abound like snowflakes. Work and school environments test our immune systems, but don’t despair. You and your family can hang onto good health in spite of the challenges. Healthy winter habits will help you to recognize where your health falls short and what you can do to boost it during this time of year and enjoy the season to its fullest.
Frequent Hand Washing
Though it sounds clichéd, the best way to keep yourself and your family healthy is to encourage frequent hand washing. It not only helps protect your immune system and prevent you from developing flu and cold, but it protects others around you.
Bring Some Light Into Your Life
Go get that winter sun as it shines bright. Whenever possible get outside for a walk, every day, even if it is only for 10 minutes. This dose of Vitamin D is a great way to boost your mood and health.
Sit Less and Get Active Indoors
Staying active will help promote bone and muscle health, control weight, and improve sleep patterns. The stronger you are in general, the stronger your body will be to fight off illnesses – or recover in case you get sick despite your best efforts to avoid it. Join a physical activity program. There are lots of indoor activities to embrace overwinters, such as yoga, bowling, dancing, soccer and many more. Make your winter activity enjoyable and social. Get active around the house. Try jogging or skipping on the spot or even just stretching while at home. Try getting active gardening, cleaning. Have fun with your hobby in the comfort of your warm home. Use an activity tracker to make sure you’re still getting your steps up. Set a target to achieve the same amount of steps you would complete over the warmer months.
The cold weather months are drying and we aren’t likely to eat cold watery foods, so we need to make sure we are drinking enough water. Consumption of caffeine in tea and coffee typically increases and can dehydrate us even more, so drink your water. Your body needs to stay lubricated and your skin will thank you as well.
Eat Well and Eat it Right
A healthy diet strengthens the immune system, helping the body resist viruses or infection. Your body needs antioxidants and vitamins to stay healthy. Some of the foods and spices that provide your body with what it needs to fight off illnesses are garlic, sweet potatoes, turmeric, dark leafy greens, and, as you may have guessed, your date with a bowl of soup. Look for the sources of zinc. During the winter months, we can come into contact with viruses that can cause cold or flu. So, it’s important that our immune system functions normally and zinc contributes to this. Foods such as oysters, spinach and legumes are good sources of zinc. Eat more iron-rich foods. Red meats, lentils and green leafy vegetables are good sources of iron, which supports a healthy immune system. Increase your intake of fish, eggs and cheese. The winter months can make us reach for sugar-laden ‘comfort foods’ that can be bad for both our waistline and our energy levels. However, there are lots of winter foods that are nutritious and comforting – try roasted root vegetables which are delicious and sweet, or soups packed with vegetables are great for lunchtime, especially with lots of garlic or ginger. Choose fruit and veggies rich in Vitamin C. Add foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers and citrus fruits to your meals as they contain vitamin C, which plays an important role in the immune system and energy levels. Perfect your portions. Winter is a great time to re-think the size of your meal, especially with foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes which, while delicious, can be easy to over-serve. Choosing a healthy amount for you can help to manage your weight, and free up space on your plate for more vegetables. Drink Herbal Teas. There are many types of herbal teas that can help you stay healthy. Herbal teas like lemon and chamomile can ease depression and anxiety by calming nerves and relaxing your body. They can also help you sleep better. Herbal teas are great as antioxidants.
Sleep is vital for cell restoration, happiness, and healthy immune response. It can also help you stay on your A-game in the midst of the groggy chill weather. Although the nights are longer and darker in the winter, your sleep can actually suffer. Aim for consistency and shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep every night, even if that means going to bed earlier or sleeping a little later. If it’s just not possible, keep your wake-up times consistent (even on the weekends) and turn in earlier when you can. Getting plenty of rest will ensure you’re ready to face whatever comes your way, healthy, clear-eyed and ready to go!
Care for Skin and Hair
It is very tempting to go for hot showers when the temperature is dipping. But if you love your skin, avoid them. Instead, use lukewarm water to shower and wash your face. Hot showers dry your skin quickly, and if you do not moisturize it immediately, your skin can develop cracks and winter eczema. Once you have taken a lukewarm shower, apply a good moisturizer. Moisturize Frequently. The type you choose depends largely on your skin type. This will keep the moisture barrier intact and prevent dryness. It’s hard to leave the warmth and comfort of the blanket behind and get moving on a chilly winter morning. But do it if you love your skin. Exercise will pump up your heart rate, which in turn, pumps more blood to your organs and skin. Just as your skin takes a seasonal beating, your locks get dry and frizzy as well. Flyaway hair and split ends are often reported from the lack of humidity, so hair needs a thick moisturizer to coat each strand and protect it.
Cuddling by the fireplace. Drinking soothing hot chocolate or Laughing with friends and family over your favourite movie. Staying healthy during the winter season is the first step to ensuring that you can enjoy all that winter has to offer.
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