Keeping fit during winter can be difficult- itís hard to go on your morning jog outside and even a trip to the gym can seem like a laborious journey as you would have to shovel your way out of all that snow.
So what can you do? Here are the expertsí winter wellness tips to stay healthy during winter:
1. Be Exposed To Light
According to the Academy of Family Physicians that six out of every 100 Americans may suffer from the seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression thatís related to changes in seasons, SAD begins and ends at about the same time every year. SAD occurs when light reduces in winter.
Based on Jeffrey Sumberís research, to counter SAD it is recommended to have much exposure to vitamin D, exercise, and also light therapy. Light therapy is lamps and box lights custom-made to treat people who are suffering from SAD.
You can let your kids play outside in the snow- just 10-15 minutes is enough to be exposed to the sun, just, donít let them be a couch potato all winter.
2. Wash Your Hands Regularly
Influenza virus peaks in the winter and our immune systems can decline due to poor nutrition, fitness, and sunlight during this time as well. Thus, one of the best ways to avoid illness is frequent hand washing.
It is scientifically proven that 80% of the germs and bacteria are transmitted by our hands, and through developing a habit of washing your hands it could lessen the possibility of catching the flu.
Germs are found in most common objects and areas that we frequently touch, like doorknobs, countertops, faucet handles, and even your childrenís toys.
Bacteria and germs are obviously not visible to the naked eye, but they can live up to several months so they can actually spread to many different areas that you come into contact with daily.
According to Dr. Maritza Baez, M.D., a family physician in Buffalo, New York, we can prevent bacteria and viruses from coming into our body by washing our hands properly.
Wash your hands with soap, then lather individually your fingers, your wrist up to your elbow, and donít forget your fingernails.
Have a habit of washing your hands before and after eating, after using the washroom and when you are preparing food.
It is also helpful to keep a pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitizer with you during the day.
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
In times like winter seasons, it is most important to keep our bodies hydrated.
According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz, it is much better to eliminate carbonated drink and sweetened sports drinks because it can increase the level of glucose in your body in which can subdue your immune system and make you more prone to the flu and colds.
If you are hitting the gym or have an extreme training regimen in the winter, it is advisable to use sugarless electrolyte tablets to add to your water if you want to give it an extra boost.
The best way to keep hydrated is to drink water before you are thirsty.
4. Decrease Your Stress
Another factor increasing your chances of getting sick is stress Ė as it drains your energy and suppresses your immune system. A study led by Dr. Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 proved that people who are under extreme stress have a higher rate of getting colds and flu.
It was found that stress decreases the effect of glucocorticoid receptors and in turn, this down-regulates the immune-inflammatory response. It is advisable to reduce your stress in the workplace and make sure to work reasonable hours.
Make some time to relax, have fun, and meditation and counseling can also help.
5. Maintain A Healthy Diet
One of the best ways of achieving a healthy body is to have a proper, well-balanced diet with vegetables, fresh fruits and small amounts of meat. It is also recommended to eat more mushrooms, according to Jill Nussinow, a dietitian and author of The Veggie Queen.
A study in 2009 at Tufts University found that after a 10-week diet of powdered white button mushrooms, certain immune cells in mice became more active, boosting protection against colds and viruses.
6. Supplements Can Be Helpful To Your Health
Sometimes when itís not enough to just maintain a healthy diet, we can do with a little boost. Different lifestyles require different supplements, so it is best to consult an expert on which supplements you can benefit the most from.
Essential oils can also help to boost your immune system or just feel better in general. There different kinds of essential oils that you can try, for example, some are antibacterial, while others can help you relax, reduce stress or eliminate headaches.
7. Exercise Regularly.
Moderate physical exercise can make all the difference. A study in the American Journal of Medicine found that women who walked for 30 mins a day had HALF the amount of colds than those who didnít exercise.
Even if you donít want to go outside or get a gym membership- there are many other ways to get your exercise Ė like following along with workout videos in the comfort of your own home! Lastly,
8. Take Care Of Your Skin!
It becomes more important than ever to take care of your skin during the winter. Exposure to harsh, cold air can dry out your skin immediately, leaving it flaking, cracked, or even inflamed and painful.
Your skincare routine may also need to change along with the changing of the seasons Ė switching to an oil-based moisturizer which will create a protective layer on the skin that helps lock in more moisture.
Protect your hands by wearing gloves when you go outside, and placing a few small humidifiers around your home or workspace will also keep your skin hydrated and looking healthy.
If you wonít venture outdoors for a walk or run, Dr. Harrington suggests finding a TV exercise show, buying a fitness video or just cranking up some music and dancing with your kids in your own living room.
Itís all about moving more indoors,
10-Stop Stomach Bugs
You may know that norovirus is a common cause of vomiting and diarrhea in the winter, but what you may not know is that hand sanitizers that kill viruses that lead to colds in the flu do very little to protect against norovirus.
Washing your hands off in the old fashioned way is your best bet.