How do you stay healthy during the winter? The long, winter months and short days can increase your risk of getting sick. However, there are many things you can do to stay healthy, even when it’s cold outside and many around you have the flu.
Try these ideas to maintain your health in the winter:
1. Continue to exercise. It’s common to avoid exercising in the winter. When it’s snowing or freezing rain covers your driveway, it may be tempting to stay home under the covers. Instead of hiding from the elements, find unique ways to stay active.
○ Exercise can boost your immune system and keep you healthy during these cold months. Exercise will also improve your mood, give you energy, and help you sleep.
○ Try exercising indoors if the winter weather is harsh or go to a gym near you.
○ Another option is to use winter activities as exercise. You can get a cardio workout by shoveling the snow and building snowmen. You can also get a great workout from skiing or sledding.
2. Wash your hands. You need to wash your hands all the time, but it becomes especially important in the winter months.
○ One of the reasons more people get sick in the winter is because they’re indoors more, and they can’t open the windows or doors to circulate the air. This allows germs to build up in the air and spread easily. Spending more time indoors with others exposes you to more illness.
○ Wash your hands with soap and water frequently. If you find that this dries out your skin, use moisturizer immediately after washing your hands.
3. Get more vitamin D. Your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. This vitamin regulates many processes in the human body, including your genes.
○ When you don’t have enough vitamin D, you may get bone pain, heart disease, depression, muscle weakness, dementia, arthritis, and other health issues. This deficiency can also increase the risk of cancer.
○ It’s harder to get vitamin D from the sun during the winter, so it’s important to make an effort to spend more time outdoors.
○ Another option is to take supplements and eat foods with vitamin D. Fortified milk, cereals, and orange juice have extra vitamin D. Eggs and mushrooms are also good sources of this vitamin.
4. Pay attention to your diet. What you eat affects your health. Nutrition sometimes suffers during the winter because fruits, grains, and vegetables can become more expensive and may be harder to find in parts of the country.
○ You may also be tempted to eat more comfort food, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, because of the colder weather. Try to limit comfort foods with high fat, sugar, or salt. Instead, consider making healthier versions of your favorite meals.
○ Fruits and vegetables have important antioxidants and other nutrients that can help your immune system and prevent some illnesses. So, you want to ensure they’re still part of your diet in the winter.
○ In addition, you tend to wear more clothes in the winter, and may not notice body changes, so gaining weight can become an issue. Pay attention to the total number of calories you’re consuming each day. Read labels and measure portions. Avoid turning to junk food or snacks.
Winter doesn’t mean you have to get sick. Try these simple tips to maintain your health even in the colder months.