04 Jun Winter Health | Staying Health
Winter health – The Winter season can be busy and exciting. With so many events like family dinners, holiday parties, and the preparation and planning for gift giving, or a road trip, we have plenty of distractions to keep us from focusing on our health and taking care of ourselves as we would normally.
Furthermore, once the holiday season is over, many people experience a lull in their motivation to stay active. Some people begin to experience depression or feelings of anxiousness over expenses that accumulated throughout the holidays. Others let diet and healthy eating habits fall by the wayside. Often, given the weather, exercise is sacrificed for warm nights spent indoors on the couch.
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. What’s more, the colder weather creates a number of safety risks to us and to those around us, and some of these we may not even be aware of.
Diet and Exercise Tips – While the winter season might increase the risk for weather-related injury, the biggest risk to our overall health is a lack of attention to diet and exercise routines. During the holidays, we find ourselves so busy finalizing travel plans, finishing up with tasks at work, buying and wrapping gifts and crossing everything off of our checklists that we forget to prioritize our healthy habits.
As if all the insanity of the holidays isn’t detrimental enough to our healthy habits, the chilly and unpleasant weather can also make it very difficult to find the motivation to get to the gym or head outdoors for exercises. In tandem with this, the additional time spent indoors means many of us snack more than we would typically at other times of the year. This combination that can quickly add on the pounds and reduce our happiness and self-esteem over time.
Calm Your Carb Cravings -The cold season tends to ignite our cravings for more carbs and comfort foods. Why? After you consume these delicious treats, your serotonin levels rise, making your brain think you are happier. And as the day wears on, your carb cravings get stronger and stronger.
To counter this, try eating a protein-packed breakfast to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. If by the time the afternoon rolls around you’re still craving sweets or carbs, be sure to have low-fat and healthy snacks on hand. However, if you can, finding a way to increase your serotonin levels without food is the best way to beat the carb cravings.
Eat More Fibre – Soluble fibre found in apples, oats and nuts is an important way to decrease inflammation and boost immune system function. Soluble fibre also helps reduce cholesterol levels in the body and aids in weight loss and protection against diabetes. This is an especially important winter health tip for seniors who require a high-fibre diet to protect their digestive systems.
Green and Orange Vegetables – Sticking primarily to vegetables and fruits that are dark green and orange is important in ensuring you’re getting healthy nutrients, sugars and fats. Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, squash, carrots and oranges are all delicious during the winter. There are plenty of recipes available to incorporate these items into your regular winter diet.
Cook with Spices – Onions, garlic, ginger and cilantro are the perfect items to add flavour to your dishes. Not only do they make food taste great, but they’re also shown to help improve immune function. Turmeric is a spice traditionally used in Chinese and Indian medicine. Its main active ingredient is called curcumin, which gives curry its yellow colour. This spice helps to combat a number of conditions including inflammation and heart disease, and it acts as a powerful antioxidant.
Plan Your Exercises – Try to stick to a weekly exercise plan so you don’t put off your regular exercise activities. On Sunday night, write down your exercise schedule for the next seven days. Choose your exact workout routines, activities or exercises for each day and how long they will be. Knowing what you’re scheduled to do each day ahead of time makes it easier to stick to. If you can, line up your workout schedule with a friend to encourage each other to stick with it and stay motivated.
Sleep Longer and Better – When the days get shorter, your body will naturally want to sleep longer and will adjust its rhythm to the hours of daylight. Use the longer evenings to wind down and begin relaxing before bed. Try to go to bed as early as possible to give your body enough rest during the times it craves it the most.
Alarms & Light Boxes – Many people choose to use light boxes that operate on a timer and turn on gradually when it’s time to wake up. This helps your body feel like it is morning. Using this method means that over time, it will be easier to wake up, even if it’s dark outside.