7 Tips for Winter Wellness

There’s a lot to love about winter: holiday lights, hot cocoa, and snowy sports. But the colder temperature and shorter days can make it tough on your physical and mental health. Here are seven simple tips help you stay well so you can enjoy whole-body health during the winter months.

  1. Wash your hands. We’ve all heard this countless times, but proper hand washing really helps! According to the CDC, hand washing can prevent respiratory illnesses by 20 percent and stomach-related illnesses by about 30 percent.

 

  1. Get enough sleep. The lack of sunlight during the winter months may make you feel tired, but a quality night’s sleep will actually give you more Sleep specialists note that deep sleep helps your body conserve and restore energy, so you can wake up feeling refreshed.

Sleep also allows your immune cells to work harder, so if you’re starting to sniffle, your body can fight the cold off quickly.

 

  1. Move your body. Whether you’re walkin’ in a winter wonderland or simply shoveling your sidewalk, it’s important to move your body during the winter months. Regular exercise strengthens your immune system because as you get your blood pumping, immune cells move through your body to seek and eliminate infections. This effect lasts for up to three hours afterward, so bundle up and get your heart pumping!

 

  1. Get vaccinated. Winter ‘tis the season for colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses. This is because cold, dry air can weaken resistance to viruses and infections. Also, because of the cold, people are indoors more often, which increases the chance of passing viruses from one person to another. What can help? Vaccinations. The influenza vaccine or “flu shot” can keep you from getting the flu and help reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

 

  1. Stay hydrated. During the winter months, there is less humidity, resulting in much drier air. This is compounded by the dry air indoors that comes with heating our homes. That’s why it’s so important to hydrate during the winter months. Minor dehydration (when we begin to feel thirsty) is linked to difficulty concentrating, poor memory, and bad moods, and chronic dehydration has been linked to kidney disease and urinary tract infections. Stay hydrated with water or hot herbal tea!

 

  1. Eat well. It’s always important to eat nutrient-rich foods, but during the winter it’s especially beneficial. Reach for foods that are high in vitamin C, like citrus fruits, to boost your immune system. To get vitamin D, which helps improve your mood and maintain bone strength, try salmon, tuna, and even greens like kale and spinach.

 

  1. Connect with family and friends. It may be cold outside, but friendship can warm the heart! Studies have shown that social connection leads to increased happiness, lower blood pressure, and a longer life. This winter, bundle up and meet a friend for a walk or invite someone in for a chat near the fireplace. Your heart will thank you!

 

References:

ttps://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/how-sleep-affects-immunity

https://www.gundersenhealth.org/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/winter-illness-guide

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccine-benefits.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/flushot.htm

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/12/19/are-you-drinking-enough-water-during-winter-months

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000490.htm#:~:text=Getting%20enough%20calcium%20and%20vitamin,your%20risk%20of%20developing%20osteoporosis.

https://www.mhanational.org/

 

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