It’s no secret that I don’t like being cold. Every winter I ask myself, “Why do I live in Minnesota?” The answer is family. It’s hard to move away from those I love just because I don’t like the weather. For those folks who do like the cold, there are many great ways to stay active and healthy during the long winter months. People like me tend to stay indoors, become more sedentary and potentially less healthy.
I set a goal of staying healthy during the winter months and thought about what I could do to achieve that goal. I wanted to share some of the areas that I’m going to work on with the hope that some of them may resonate with you and that you will stay healthy too.
More than ever, it is important to get a flu shot this year due to the pandemic and the fact that both Influenza and COVID share a lot of the same symptoms. We have a responsibility to ourselves and each other to protect ourselves from these nasty viruses.
It’s important to sanitize all the time, but it’s even more important to do it in the winter months when there seems to be more germs floating around. Sanitize things like pens, phones, remote controls, door handles, steering wheels, etc. Basically, anything your hands touch should be sanitized regularly to kill germs.
This is the mantra in all health care facilities but it is every bit as important to do at home. Use warm water, scrub for at least 20 seconds (you can sing happy birthday twice to time it) and rinse from the wrists down to your fingertips.
Wear Your Mask
With the pandemic, we know wearing a mask can prevent your germs from spreading when you talk, sing, cough, or sneeze. And, if you’re feeling sick, stay at home and stay away from other people to avoid spreading viruses.
Good nutrition is important all the time but eating foods high in Vitamin C during the winter months can help keep you healthy. It’s also important to take your vitamins to help supplement the food we eat. Make sure to select a good quality multi-vitamin.
While it’s not easy to stay motivated to exercise in the winter, there many types of exercise you can enjoy inside. Walking up and down stairs at home, putting your bicycle on a stand to ride indoors, doing exercise videos or group exercise through Zoom classes at home are just a few ideas. It’s important to stay moving to stay healthy. There is also great benefit to getting regular massages. Studies show that massages increase the serotonin and dopamine levels in your body, acting as a mood booster, which in turn may help protect your immunity. Plus, it feels really good!
Some people tend to hibernate in the winter months. However, socializing is very important to your health and thanks to technology staying connected has become much easier through Skype or FaceTime applications, all in the comforts of your nice, warm home.
It’s a fact that most Americans do not get enough sleep. Studies show that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. Not only is getting enough sleep important, it’s also important to get good, quality sleep. Keeping a consistent sleep-awake schedule, avoiding the use of electronics right before bed, avoiding alcohol, nicotine and stimulants late in the day, and taking time to relax and unwind before laying down will help improve the quality of your sleep and therefore help improve your overall health.
Here’s to your good health and surviving our Minnesota winter together!