Spring is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean the cold has gone! We can still look forward to days of rain and dark clouds on the horizon; mornings of frosty breath and evenings full of chilling winds. It can be difficult to stay energized and active when the temperature drops. Winter fatigue is a real problem and it can take all the wind out of your sails. Don’t despair: there are steps you can take during cold weather to stay high energy and happy.
This might surprise you but you may be at higher risk of being dehydrated during cold weather than in the blazing hot summer months. For starters: you don’t sweat when it’s cold out so your body doesn’t give you that obvious warning sign to rehydrate. But environmental factors are the main reasons you could be at greater risk in winter: the cold weather causes your kidneys to excrete more urine. Your home’s central heating also plays, creating a drier interior environment which can cause water loss simply from breathing.
Drink In Plenty Of “Sunny D”
We tend to feel fatigued during the winter months, and that’s because of a lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D is the “sun vitamin,” an essential nutrient our body produces when our skin comes into direct contact with natural sunlight. When we spend a lot of time indoors or when the weather is frequently dark and/or overcast, we don’t get enough exposure to the sun to get that energizing vitamin D.
Experts recommend getting 15-30 minutes of “sun time” a day. If you can’t spend that much time outdoors, talk to your doctor about taking some over-the-counter vitamin D supplements. Another option is to purchase a sun lamp, which produces therapeutic light that can stimulate the production of vitamin D.
Fight Against Flu Season
Few things can sap your energy like the flu or a cold. Taking care of your immune system during the winter months is very important. Stay on top of your flu shots. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to obtain enough minerals and vitamins to keep your body running at peak efficiency. Consider taking zinc supplements to give your immune system a boost. You also don’t want to neglect your gut health: yogurt and probiotics will keep your stomach bacteria plentiful and healthy, and those trillions of organisms play a vital role in maintaining your body’s equilibrium.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week to maintain a healthy quality of life. Just because you can’t go outside when it’s raining or cold doesn’t mean you can’t exercise! There are a variety of physical activities to do at home:
- Aerobic & other exercise videos
- Stair climbing
- Jump rope (just make sure you do it on top of a pad or cushioned surface so you’re not jumping on a hard surface)
Even active housework like vacuuming and sweeping can help keep you healthy. The key is to not be sedentary: incorporate frequent physical activity breaks and movement throughout the day to keep your muscles loose and limber.
Let’s Go To The Mall
You may not think “malls” and “fitness” go together, but going to a shopping center can be a great way to get out of the house and get some walking done in a heated and comfortable environment. You can even make a social activity out of it by inviting your fitness buddies or hiking group to pound the pavement for an hour or so before hitting the food court to refuel.
Article by Austin Brietta
Want more wellness tips? Check out these stories: