How to Stay Healthy in the Winter Months
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When it’s cold outside, few things feel better than bundling up beneath a pile of blankets and sipping hot chocolate while binging episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix. But overdo it and soon enough you won’t be feeling very good at all. Stave off sickness, seasonal depression, and winter weight with these simple tips:
If you live in sunny Tampa, obviously you’re going to have an easier time exercising than someone whose home is on some snowy slice of Edmonton real estate. When temperatures drop below zero, you can’t exactly go for a jog whenever the mood strikes you.
Gym memberships and home exercise equipment are good alternatives, but they can also be expensive. So think outside the box: Shoveling snow is a pain in the frostbitten butt, but it’s good exercise, so maybe do it yourself instead of bribing the kid next door.
If you’d rather stay indoors, consider simple cardio exercises like jumping jacks or climbing the stairs, or try calisthenics like push-ups, crunches, and squats. Feeling the burn is a good way of fighting the chill.
I know, I know. We just talked about how icy weather is enough to make anyone give the great outdoors the, ahem, cold shoulder. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid going outside entirely.
Every winter, millions of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression caused partially by diminished sunlight creating lower serotonin levels. These effects can be worsened by reduced social interaction.
So try making it a point to stay in touch with family and friends, consider joining a local hobby or discussion group, and, even if you have to throw on three coats and a half-dozen scarves, try to get out of the house for at least a little while whenever you can.
Winter is flu season, so make sure to schedule a visit with your doctor to get your yearly shot. A quick poke in the arm is a lot less painful than a week or more with a high fever, a hacking cough, and an aching… everything.
Winter’s cold weather and shorter days deliver a one-two punch to your body’s immune system, making them more susceptible to sickness, so wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to kill germs. If you start feeling ill, don’t try to muscle through it.
Stay home from school or work and get plenty of rest. Stay hydrated and take medicine to treat your symptoms. Now might be a good time for one of those Netflix binges.
It starts in the fall with Halloween candy and Thanksgiving dinner. Then winter hits and you’re up to your eyeballs in cocoa, eggnog, candy canes, gingerbread, and (if you’re really brave) fruitcake. It’s small wonder they say Santa’s belly jiggles like a bowl full of jelly.
Maybe he should lay off the carbs. You should too, or at the very least enjoy them in moderation. Balance out the impact of those heavy holiday meals by cutting down on in-between snacks.
Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of fruits and vegetables in season; oranges, pears, and grapefruits are a great addition to any breakfast, and carrots, beets, onions, turnips, squash, cabbage, and kale are all ideal ingredients for a light, refreshing salad or a hot, healthy soup.
What’s better on a cold winter day than a steaming bowl of soup? Mm-mmm!