During the winter months, especially when it gets cold outside, we have a tendency to slow down a little bit. Sitting inside by a nice fire starts to sound much better than getting out of the house for any reason. It also tends to be the time of the year when there is a prevalence of illness. So, I wanted to share some tips with you about what you can do during these months to help keep yourself healthy.
1. Go for a walk, even when it is really cold outside – your body has to work harder to get warm and can burn up to 50% more calories than you would on the same walk in summer! But remember, go a little slower until you get warm and remember to stretch, especially when it’s cold outside, before hand. And although it is cold outside, it is still important to stay hydrated.
2. For most people, it can be hard to get motivated to exercise in winter. But just think of spring and how much harder it can be to get back into shape if you slack off during winter. Use that as motivation to maintain your fitness throughout the winter. (Be careful of injuries if you don’t exercise in winter and expect to pick up where you left off after a whole winter with no exercise.)
3. Get plenty of Vitamin D. It can help build up your immune system and prevent cold and flu. As stated in an earlier post, Vitamin D can be especially important during the winter months when you are not exposed to the sun as much. Ask you chiropractor about getting quality Vitamin D supplement.
4. Try drinking hot herbal teas instead of hot chocolate to help stay warm. You can even add a spoon of honey to give it a little sweetness.
5. If you just find that it’s too cold to go outside, try indoor activities instead. For example, swimming at an indoor pool is an option for a great cardio workout!
6. Cold air and indoor heaters can really dry out your skin. Make sure you are staying hydrated each day and use moisturizers throughout winter. A good rule of thumb is take you body weight, divide in half, and drink that many ounces of water per day.
7. It may be helpful to buy some indoor plants for your house. This helps soften up the dry atmosphere caused through heating. Plants can give off moisture and oxygen and the colors will brighten up a dull day outside.
8. Make sure you are wearing the right clothes when you exercise during winter. Polypropylene is a perfect fabric to wear underneath running clothes, which will provide great insulation but minimize moisture loss. Gore-Tex is a fabric that provides protection from the rain and wind.
9. You may want to avoid exercise if you have the cold or flu depending on the situation. If the infection is above the neck (nose, throat) you might be OK to complete a low intensity workout. However, if you have symptoms that are worse than an average cold (chest congestion, muscle aches), exercise will most likely only make you feel worse and delay your recovery. Rest is probably the best approach in this situation.
10. Keep your immune system working at an optimal level with regular visits to your chiropractor. Not getting sick in the first place so you can continue your normal exercise through the winter is much better than having to battle back from an extended absence.