Many people choose to hibernate during the cold winter months, waiting for the first sign of spring. Instead of overindulging in comfort foods and using a remote control as a form of exercise, try a different approach to help improve your overall health. This article provides some useful tips for simple changes you can make during the cold weather that may bring you into warmer weather a little healthier.
What easy changes can I make during winter to improve personal health?
There are several things you can do to help improve your health during the cold winter season. Some of these suggestions are:
- Add this food item to your diet – Besides being tasty, sweet potatoes contain iron and calcium, are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain vitamins A and C.
- Assess your well-being – Don’t focus on just your nutritional well-being. Keep your total health in mind, including your emotional, physical and spiritual health, and your social interactions.
- Look out for your heart health – Know your numbers in regards to your heart health, including blood pressure, blood cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and fasting blood glucose. Talk to your doctor about where you need to improve and then use the winter season to reach your goal.
- Guard your teeth – Winter sports, such as hockey, skiing, and snowboarding, risk damage to your teeth. Wear a mouth guard over your upper teeth to lessen this risk.
- Winterize your eyes – Winter doesn’t eliminate the need to protect your eyes from UV rays. It is important to wear sunglasses when outdoors and use goggles when doing winter sports. Make sure your eyewear blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Lower the temperature for better sleep – You will sleep better at night in lower temperatures. Avoid the urge to pile on the blankets and turn up the heat. A room kept between 65 and 70 degrees may help you achieve better quality sleep.
How can I avoid winter weight gain?
There are many ways you can avoid unwanted weight gain, such as:
- Exercise – Designate time for regular exercise during the cold months to help keep the extra weight off. When the days are darker earlier, it’s easy to go home and sit and watch TV rather than working out. A regular fitness schedule may help you schedule exercise into your days during the cold winter months.
- Don’t go to parties hungry – Most parties involve food higher in calories than what we might eat at home. Try eating some fruits and vegetables prior to attending these events to help curb your appetite and reduce temptation of the high calorie food that may be offered.
- Drink less alcohol – Alcohol has tons of calories. It’s easy to consume the extra calories since many gatherings include drinking. Try to drink water between each alcoholic beverage to help dilute the extra calories and pace yourself as well.
- Make-up for overeating – Don’t worry too much if you overeat during parties. It’s more important to not use that as a reason to continue to overeat. If you over indulge, just cut back on calories for a few extra days and add a little more physical activity, like taking a brisk walk.
- Remember to enjoy yourself – When you are at get-togethers that provide large amounts of food and alcohol try and focus on the people who are there. Catching up with people and enjoying their company can help pass the time, where you may otherwise be thinking of the refreshments.
Can I work out in cold weather?
Don’t let the cold winter temperatures deter you from working out. Just keep these tips in mind:
- Always check the weather – Know what the weather is going to be before exercising outdoors, especially if you are a runner. If there is wind, you need to take that into account as well.
- Dress in layers – Dressing in layers is important because you can always remove some of the layers if you are too warm.
- Protect ears, hands, and nose – It’s important to keep your hands, ears, and nose covered because those are more prone to frostbite. Wearing a hat will also help keep your entire body warmer.
- Stay hydrated – You need to stay hydrated in cold weather if you are exercising. You may not think you are sweating under all of the layers but you are. Be aware of the fluid you are losing when exercising in cold temperatures and stay hydrated.