Winter months brings with it sparkling snowflakes, chilly wind, dipping temperature and less light. The overall environment of winter compels people to go for parties and people end up eating more fast food and sugary items. But winter can also be a time of illness and injury, if people fail to take adequate health and safety precautions.
To have a happier, healthier winter you need to take proper care of yourself. Luckily, there are certain things you can do to keep your energy up, your immune system strong and your body healthy all winter long.
Here are some important winter health tips:
Being cold, and especially shivering, depresses the immune system because your body’s resources go toward raising your temperature rather than warding off germs. That makes it doubly important to focus on keeping warm. In cold weather, blood is shunted to your body’s core, so your extremities get cold first. Invest in good quality warm clothes.
Keep stress to a minimum
Studies have linked high stress levels to making a person more susceptible to catching colds and flu. Minimize your stress by working reasonable hours at your job. Aim for at least one night per week to spend with friends and family.
It is important to exercise regularly, even if only for 15 minutes a day! Get out and take a short walk and enjoy the cooler weather. It has been found that people who do moderate-intensity exercise like low-impact aerobics during the day feel more rested and energetic, and sleep better at night. Also regular exercise will reduce stress and anxiety hormones.
Eliminate all forms of sugar
This includes not only the obvious kinds (cake, cookies and sweets, in general), but bread, pasta, rice, yogurt and commercial, store-bought fruit juices. Although all of these things are made with different types of sugars, your body still converts them to sugar, which will compromise your immune system.
Choose the right foods
Try to include good amounts of nutritious food and drinks that meet your energy needs in your diet plan. During the winter months, enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods and aim to include tow serves of fruit and five serves of vegetable in your diet each day. Also your meals should contain a mixture of fiber rich carbohydrates, good quality protein and essential fatty acids.
Drink more water
Along with a good diet plan, you also need to keep your body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Staying well hydrated will give you more energy, mental clarity and enhanced digestive function. Drinking herbal tea is also a tasty way to improve hydration. Herbal teas include ginger, mint, jasmine, lemon grass, and chamomile. At the same time, limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
Enjoy sound sleep
Good quality sleep is vital for good health and during the winter days you need to get more rest than normal. Sleep is very much like fuel that recharges your batteries whereas poor sleep can impact on everyday life affecting concentration, mood, stress levels and weight gain. Aim to get into bed early and enjoy around eight hours of deep sleep daily.
Any time of year is the right time of year to quit smoking. Quitting smoking will significantly improve your health and reduce your risk of disease and premature death.
When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth, make sure you dispose of the tissue afterwards in the nearest waste receptacle; and wash your hands.
Always wash your hands
Hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs that cause respiratory disease such as colds and flu. After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, wash your hands with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand cleansers as an effective alternative if you do not have access to soap and water.
For healthy living this winter, make sure you follow the above mentioned healthy tips. These are just some of the simple things you can do to stay healthy and well during the winter season!