Surviving Winter: Health & Wellness Tips for the Cold Weather Months

We know it’s tempting to hibernate away all winter, but we’ve compiled some tips to help you leave the couch this season.

Oh, winter. Sometimes it seems like the bears have the right idea by hibernating through the cold season, doesn’t it? While three months of Netflix and napping may be tempting, a little snow is no excuse to give up on our commitments to health.

Many of us stress out about holiday weight gain, but winter health and wellness goes way beyond avoiding the pumpkin pie. We’ve compiled some of our favorite tips to keep healthy this winter.

Winter Fitness:

  • Timing is Everything: The simple fact is, we have a lot less daylight to take advantage of in the winter. Chances are, it’s dark out when you leave the house and dark again by the time you get home from work. It’s simply unsafe to exercise outside in the dark. If at all possible, plan your workouts for midday, when it’s also the warmest. Or, consider investing in a gym membership for a few months, so that you can exercise without facing the cold darkness!
  • Gear Up: There are advantages to continuing your outdoor fitness regime – walking and running in the snow burns more calories, and getting fresh air and some sun is certainly a healthy winter habit. Wear neon clothing with reflective strips so that you’ll stand out against the grey winter sky. Dress for weather 10 degrees warmer than it is outside, since you will quickly warm up and begin to sweat once your workout gets going.
  • Make Modifications: We know it’s hard to stay motivated to go for a jog when you’d rather be wrapped in blankets – force yourself to get out there by changing straight into your workout clothes when you get home. Is the gravitational pull of the couch just too strong? One of our favorite winter fitness ideas is this “TV commercial” interval workout!

Winter Diet:

  • Quote Blog 12-16 feature.pngDrink Up: One of the best ways to stay healthy this winter is simply to stay hydrated. While this is a key wellness tip any time of year, we naturally don’t feel as thirsty in cold weather – which makes it easier for us to get dehydrated without realizing it. Aim to drink half your weight in ounces each day (if you weigh 140 lbs, drink 70 oz).
  • Hold the Salt: What could be better than a steaming bowl of soup after a long, cold day? Not much! It makes sense that soup is a go-to meal in the winter months. However, most soups are also laden with salt. Too much sodium will not only dehydrate you faster, but also leads to hypertension and heart disease. Opt for low-sodium varieties, or make your own so you can control the seasoning.
  • Rethink Your Drinks: We know winter is the season of hot chocolate, festively flavored lattes, and plenty of marshmallows and whipped cream – but these seemingly small indulgences have a huge impact on our winter health. A 16 oz Pumpkin Spice Latte has 420 calories, and a whopping 50 grams of sugar! Try satisfying your warm drink craving with hot teas instead, and allow yourself a small fancy hot chocolate or coffee drink as an occasional treat.

Winter Wellness:

  • Grab Some Shut-Eye: Winter’s early sunset time makes us feel like we should be heading to bed at 5:00 PM. And while hibernating may not make our list of healthy winter habits, you should still listen to your body’s circadian rhythm which responds to your environment’s light and darkness. Go ahead and wind down a little earlier, unplug from electronics, relax with a book, and hit the hay a little earlier.
  • Be a Social Butterfly: For many of us, the cold weather months may bring a little gloominess as well. That’s why one of our biggest winter wellness tips is to get out of the house (no matter how cozy it is) and spend time with friends. Maintaining friendships and social relationships will help combat the winter blues.
  • Give Back: Many charities such as food banks and animal shelters find themselves short on help during the winter months. Volunteering your time to help others can also improve your own mental health and life satisfaction.

When it comes to winter health and wellness tips, this list is really just the tip of the iceberg. What are some of your favorite healthy winter habits? Let us know in the comments. For more ways to stay healthy this winter, check out our New Year’s Resolutions Checklist or give us a call today!