As we begin our descent into the winter months, the temperature will drop, the landscapes will change, and the sunlight will dwindle. These things can have a significant impact on your overall health. Because we want to help you get through this season as safely and as healthy as possible, we’ve compiled our best winter wellness tips.
Diet and Exercise: What do plummeting temperatures have to do with your diet or exercise? Well, when it gets colder, much of what we do, including exercise, social interaction, and learning, move indoors. That means we’re around a greater amount of people and are in closer proximity to them than other seasons which translates into more exposure to transmittable viruses like colds and the flu. Also, because the sunlight provides a healthy boost to our immune system and mood, the winter months can lead to declines in our emotional, mental, and physical health.
Taking supplements is one way that you can maintain or improve your overall health.
- Vitamin D can be used for bone health as well as immune support. It’s also called the “sunshine
vitamin” thanks to its mood enhancing characteristics.
- While Vitamin C can’t prevent an infection, adding it to your daily routine can help to reduce the
severity and length of cold symptoms and provide immune support.
- Iron is another great supplement for blood health as it promotes hemoglobin production and
can help regulate your body temperature as well as fight against fatigue, cold hands, brittle
nails, and headaches.
- Taking Vitamin E helps to maintain your skins’ health by preventing it from becoming dry and
flaky and reduces redness and wrinkles.
- The B Vitamins are packed with beneficial power that promote cell health and energy: B1 and B2
are incredible for your nervous system and eyesite as well as increasing energy. B6 promotes
energy production and B12 is wonderful for your nervous system.
While incorporating supplements into your daily regiment is important, don’t rely on them alone to provide all the nutrition your body will need to function optimally. Vitamins should be taken as part of a healthy diet. Fast food, which can feel like an easy solution in the wintry months, don’t often give you the nutrients you need so make a plan to cook and enjoy a delicious meal full of healthy, natural foods!
When it comes to exercise, it will probably look quite a bit different in the winter months. A few tips to follow are:
- Cardio workouts that involve running outdoors might require a bit more planning but are not impossible. Because cold air can have negative effects on the lungs, those who have lung disease should be wary of exercising in extreme cold. Breathing through your nose or using a face shield can help to warm the air before it reaches your lungs. Layering your clothing to ensure you break a sweat can also be helpful. All these things will help to prevent asthma-like symptoms due to too much cold air in your lungs. Or if all else fails, simply take your cardio workouts indoors!
- When it comes to necessary equipment, layer up! Don’t rely on the exercise alone to keep you warm; wear appropriate clothing for the outside temperature. Body warmers can be a good addition to any apparel choice especially since winter temps can harm the body quickly if you’re not prepared. Choose your footwear carefully as you want to be warm and avoid any slips or falls. And be prepared for emergencies as injuries can happen at any time.
Listen, there aren’t many redeeming qualities about the art of shoveling but when duty calls, answer it with the right product, optimal form, and the best preventative and restorative care.
- Choose your shovel wisely. Just like any sports equipment, researching and using the best products will help to decrease the strain on your body and go a long way towards preventing injury.
- It’s going to be hard work so make sure you have the right form, clothing, and energy. Every cubic foot of snow weighs anywhere from 1 to 21 pounds depending on the moisture content. So, one inch of snow on a 25’ x 25’ driveway translates to 52 cubic feet of snow which means you’ll shovel anywhere from 52lbs to 1000lbs of snow. Here are some tips:
- Warm up your muscles and dress in layers to include mittens and boots.
- Freshly fallen snow is easier and a bit lighter to shovel so don’t wait to start.
- Don’t lift it ALL at once! Small amounts of snow are better for the body than loading up the shovel. Push the snow to the edges of the driveway, sidewalk, or deck and then scoop up a small amount of the pile at a time.
- Get in the habit of bending your “legs and lifting” instead of “twisting and throwing” the snow.
- Take it slowly and listen to your body!
- Chiropractic care before or after shoveling can help to reduce some of the not-so-great symptoms that come moving snow. Also, optimizing your muscle and joint health through exercise is always beneficial!
It’s really important to be cautious on ice and plan for the cold. The CDC estimates that nearly 1 million injuries and 17,000 deaths occur from slips on ice and snow. Half of those injuries are fractures with elderly women being at highest risk; 2/3 of their injuries were fractures.
Preventing ice buildup by using effective snow clearing methods, including salting and sanding, can help reduce your risk of injury. And, as an added tip, buying and wearing that poofy coat or pants can help cushion the body thanks to the additional material inside.
If you do happen to fall and injure yourself, make sure to seek medical care. Any suspicion of fracture should be immediately checked out.
As winter ushers itself in with colder temps, shorter days, and changing landscapes, an ounce of prevention can go a long way towards a healthy and happy season!