Winter is often synonymous with packing on a few extra pounds and catching a case of the sniffles. Adding in a global pandemic combined with stay-at-home orders, and you’re looking at a winter that’s even trickier to navigate from a health perspective. With that being said, you can still modify aspects of your daily routine to stay active and healthy during the colder months. If you want to look and feel your best throughout the season, take a look at some of these winter health tips that we’ve put together.
Eat Clean, Unprocessed Foods
A nutritious diet is crucial for staying healthy during winter. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes are all cornerstones of a well-balanced winter diet. They provide vitamins (A, C, D, and E) and minerals (selenium and zinc) that strengthen your immune system. Also, it’s best to eat meat that’s unprocessed and hormone-free, and avoid foods with artificial sweeteners and refined sugars since they suppress the immune system and contribute to weight gain.
It’s highly recommended that you make an appointment with your nutritionist to find out which foods best meet your dietary needs, especially if you want to cook the food yourself. If not, a personal chef is a more convenient option since they can do both your grocery shopping and cooking.
Staying hydrated offers many benefits while maximizing your physical and mental performance, which is why it’s important to ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Consuming at least 64 oz of water per day is easier if you follow these guidelines to make sure you’re fully hydrated:
- Drink a glass of water before every meal.
- Keep a reusable water bottle with you while you work from home.
- Check that your urine is clear and pale.
- Download an app to help track your water intake throughout the day.
To make your daily water intake even healthier, you may want to consider installing a top-of-the-line water filtration system for your entire household. These systems get rid of the harmful contaminants often found in tap water, meaning you’ll have cleaner water for not only drinking but also cooking, bathing, and cleaning.
Take Vitamin D & Zinc Supplements
Taking daily vitamin D supplements can boost your immune system and combat infection. Research suggests vitamin D may also help reduce depression and increase weight loss in addition to fighting diseases. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, but supplements are a good alternative.
Zinc is another beneficial nutrient that can help improve your immune system. This mineral is found throughout your body and plays a vital role in your body’s inflammatory response. One study found zinc supplements may even help cut down the duration of the cold.
You may already be taking other supplements and medication — if that’s the case, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if vitamin D and zinc supplements are worth adding to your routine.
Cut Back on the Alcohol
It’s easy to turn to your favorite wine or cocktail when the days get short, and the cold keeps you stuck indoors. However, alcohol is full of empty calories. If you find yourself overindulging too often, it’ll affect your waistline and long-term health. You may want to consider cutting back on your alcohol consumption. It’ll help you sleep better, lose weight, and improve your health overall.
Now, you don’t have to cut out the wine altogether. Just be sure to enjoy it in moderation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. When you do decide to pour yourself a drink, always reach for your top-shelf selections. Life’s too short to drink the cheap stuff!
Winter is the perfect time to re-dedicate yourself to a fitness routine. So dust off that treadmill or home gym, and spend time each day getting your blood pumping. The activities below are excellent options for both cardio enthusiasts and strength-training fanatics.
Cycling is a great, low-impact exercise to keep you active while exploring the world around you. Just put on a helmet, hop on your bike, and enjoy the sights and sounds of your neighborhood. When the weather’s not in your favor, hop on a state-of-the-art stationary bike like the Peloton and take an interactive cycling class from the comfort of your home.
Yoga is a fantastic way to increase flexibility, improve balance, and reduce anxiety and stress. The only equipment required is a mat and a little bit of space. Go online to find a vast library of instructional YouTube videos and interactive yoga classes. The options are limitless, so you’re bound to find something that suits your skill level and intensity preference. You may also want to consider hiring a private yoga instructor. That way, he or she can guide you through your practice and help adjust your posture as needed.
People often lump Pilates and yoga together. While there are similarities, generally, yoga is more meditative and therapeutic, while Pilates centers around physical conditioning. In fact, Pilates focuses on toning and strengthening the muscles — especially the core — using your body weight. Find an online class or hire a private Pilates instructor. Who knows, you might discover your new favorite workout routine.
If you live near a wooded area with hiking trails, lace up your boots and go for a hike. It’s a great way to break a sweat and reconnect with nature. There might be some days where it’s too cold to go outside. If that’s the case, go online and follow along to a bodyweight workout.
Have an indoor or heated outdoor pool? Take up swimming or water aerobics to boost your cardio fitness and strengthen your muscles. Aquatic workouts are especially beneficial for people with joint issues. The buoyancy of water offers extra support for the muscles and joints, so you’ll be putting much less stress on your body compared to non-aquatic workouts. If you suffer from arthritis or another similar ailment, swimming is the perfect exercise for you.
Winter can be a challenging time for staying healthy. But with the right diet and exercise routine, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the season. Your family, friends, and neighbors will definitely notice how good you look, so get ready to soak up all those compliments.
Check out the POLYWOOD blog for more winter-related articles.