Winter is an exciting season for many people. With the holiday season, snuggling by the fireplace with a cup of cocoa, and beautiful snow, winter is many people’s favorite time of year. However, it’s also one of the most difficult times of the year to keep up with good health. Staying healthy in winter amidst the rich holiday food, cold temperatures, and lowered immune systems can be tough. As winter approaches, here are some tips you can apply for your diet, physical activity, mental health, and overall winter safety to stay in good health this winter.
As cooler weather and holiday season roll in, many people’s diets and food intake change as well. With comfort food and rich holiday meals, some of the healthier options tend to get pushed away and people find their health negatively impacted. Your diet is a big part of staying healthy in winter and keeping a strong immune system to fight germs.
1. Take Your Vitamins
It may seem obvious, but a big part of staying healthy in winter is making sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. The darker weather and heavier clouds limit sun exposure throughout the day which in turn cuts down on vitamins you could get naturally. There is also less fresh fruit and vegetables available during winter which again limits your ability to get certain vitamins. The answer to this is to find a good multivitamin to take consistently. Talk with your doctor about the specific vitamins you may need to get more of based on your health. They may also have a recommendation for a good multivitamin for you.
2. Dental Care
Believe it or not, your dental care really can have an impact on your diet and overall health. So when it comes to staying healthy in winter, you need to be extra aware of your dental care as well as the types of food you consume. For example, winter usually means an increase in tea, coffee, cocoa, and other hot drinks for people. While hot drinks themself are not usually bad for you, too many hot drinks can negatively impact your tooth enamel and make it more susceptible to staining. People also tend to add sugar or creamers to their hot drinks, which means more sugar exposure to your teeth which is correlated with poor tooth health. Talk with your dentist about different oral surgeons in the area that you can visit for any procedures you may need to strengthen your dental health.
You will also want to make sure you are doing the basics to take care of your teeth. That includes brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, flossing daily, and using the right toothpaste. Make sure you are keeping up with your dentist appointments and visit a dental health care clinic in your area to ensure that your teeth are healthy.
3. Well-Rounded Diet
Along with taking vitamins and proper dental care, a big part of staying healthy in winter is eating a well-rounded diet. Winter is a time where people are generally eating richer, more calorie-dense foods, such as thick soups, hot casseroles, and bigger meals in general. While you shouldn’t completely cut out those delicious winter meals, you need to ensure that you’re still getting fresh foods when possible and eating a well-rounded diet. If you like to eat porridge or oatmeal for breakfast, try adding some fruit or nuts in as well. Purchase fruits and veggies when possible for snacking throughout the day and prepare them ahead of time so you can easily grab and munch when you’re hungry or on the go. Talk with your doctor about the best diet plan for your specific health and don’t make any drastic changes without first consulting them.
Staying active and physically fit can be difficult during winter as it’s generally too cold to exercise outside. While it may be difficult, it’s important to keep up good physical activity to help your body stay strong and healthy enough to fight off any illnesses or germs you may get. People also tend to eat richer, more calorie-dense foods during winter, so physical activity will help you to keep off extra pounds you may gain due to that.
1. Make Sure to Exercise
For optimal physical health, it is recommended by the American Heart Association that adults try to be active every day and aim to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity throughout the week. Many adults find staying healthy in winter difficult due to cooler temperatures and limited options for outdoor physical activity. But cold weather doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. There are plenty of online resources now that assist with exercise and physical activity at home. For many of them, you don’t even need extra equipment. You can find plenty of workouts, including yoga, pilates, Zumba, body-strength training, aerobics, and more. As long as you’ve got open space and a good internet connection, you should be able to stay physically active, even during winter.
2. Healthy Sleep Habits
While sleep is the opposite of physical activity, it can have a huge impact on your physical abilities and your overall health. A big part of staying healthy in winter is getting enough rest for your body to stay healthy and strong. The amount of sleep your body needs to stay healthy is different based on your age, gender, and activity levels during the day. Take advantage of the long, dark evenings to wind your body and mind down so you can get restful, deep sleep. Make sure to put your phone down at least an hour before bed so the blue-light doesn’t affect your ability to fall into a deep sleep. Instead, take advantage of the cozy mood of winter, and snuggle up with a good book or a warm cup of tea to help your mind relax and get ready for bed.
Aside from diet and physical activity, there are a few things you need to remember specific to winter that will impact your overall health and safety.
1. Wash Your Hands
You’ve heard it time and time again. Wash your hands. While it may be the most repeated health tip of all time, it has merit. People touch their face, eyes, and mouth over 100 times a day without realizing it. This is one of the easiest ways for germs to enter your system. If you don’t keep up with handwashing, you are allowing germs to stay on your body and get into your system. Frequent handwashing will protect not only your immune system but also those around you as it will cut down the spreading of germs.
For the times when washing your hands isn’t possible, hand sanitizer is a great option. You can visit a medical supply store to get a high-quality hand sanitizer that will thoroughly kill the germs on your hands.
2. Careful With Heating Devices
Heating devices are a great way to stay warm during the colder months of winter, especially if you don’t have reliable heating services like an HVAC system. But if you don’t use the right precautions with them, they can be dangerous. Whether it’s a space heater, fireplace, or heated blanket, if you aren’t careful with them they can cause fires. If you’re using any of these devices, make sure to always unplug them before bed. They should never be left running unattended.
Even if you do have an HVAC system or some sort of heating system built into your home, you need to be careful with it. This starts by making sure a reliable company has installed and serviced your system. Faulty installation can lead to a home fire. If you notice your system isn’t working as it normally would or you smell a burning scent, call out for a heating repair as soon as possible.
3. Salt Driveways and Icy Stairs
One of the biggest concerns during winter, regardless of your age, is slipping and falling on ice. This can cause serious injuries, such as broken bones or the need for surgery, such as chin surgery, or death depending on the severity of your fall.
Seniors may consider getting in touch with a slip and fall lawyer to be prepared in case they fall and get injured due to the negligence of others. You must take special precautions for your safety when it comes to ice. Here are a few tips you can try to limit your risk of falling this winter:
- Make sure you are always wearing shoes with good traction when you go outside.
- Slow and steady wins the race. If you’re walking outside where there is potential for ice, don’t rush. Walk slowly to keep your footing and take small steps.
- Always pay attention to where you’re walking. You can often see ice before you step on it.
- Salt your driveway, porch, and walkway at home. This will help add traction on ice and even melt ice in some places.
- Try to always walk on cleared paths. Remember that grassy slopes can be just as slippery as ice.
- Be familiar with a slip and fall injury attorney. If you fall outside a business due to their negligence to clear ice and snow, your attorney can help you negotiate and work with your insurance.
Staying healthy in winter is not just about vitamins and exercise. Being careful and making sure you don’t have any hard falls this winter is a big part of staying healthy as well.
With darker weather and more time spent indoors, many people find that their mental health suffers during winter. Have you ever heard of the winter blues? Depression rates rise during winter and people suffer. Here are a few things you can do to keep your mental health strong during winter.
1. Be Social
Although people generally spend less time out and about during winter, that doesn’t mean you should cut back on your social activities. A big part of caring for your mental health and staying healthy in winter is socializing and spending time with loved ones. Especially during the holidays, there are a lot of different events and activities you can look into attending. If you aren’t able to get out to events, you may look into online events where you can still socialize and even meet new people from the comfort of your home. You may also consider planning small gatherings with close friends at family at your own home. A movie night, a dinner party, or even a crafting night are great ideas.
2. Meditation and Relaxation
While it’s important to still seek out social opportunities, you will also want to spend some time relaxing and meditating. That might mean taking a short walk around the block for some fresh air, or turning the lights down, lighting some candles, and doing deep breathing to relieve stress. There are even meditation apps that will lead through a meditation session with a soothing voice and music. Many people have found great success in managing anxiety and depression with meditation.
3. Self Care
A big part of staying healthy in winter is putting self-care first. If you aren’t taking care of your own mental health, your overall health will suffer. Self-care may consist of carrying on with a hobby, spa time, or even taking on new projects. Some people may start to paint or draw, others may start to update and improve their home. If you’re thinking of making any updates, the kitchen is a great place to start. Contact a kitchen remodeling contractor in your area for some help along the way.
If hobbies and activities aren’t doing it for you, you may consider seeing a therapist. They will be able to talk you through the negative feelings you are having and offer tools and resources to work through them. Different health insurance companies have different types of coverage, so make sure you talk with your insurance company about their specific plans before you hire a therapist.
Staying healthy in winter shouldn’t be a difficult task as long as you’re taking all the right precautionary measures. If you follow these previously mentioned tips for diet, physical activity, general safety, and mental health, you should be able to enjoy the cozy winter months and holiday season to the fullest.