Let’s be honest: for many of us, winter feels like our most “unhealthy” season. With flu and cold bugs running rampant, the weather driving us indoors, and even appetites growing heartier, it makes complete sense that the start of the year doesn’t leave folks feeling their healthiest.
So what can be done to overcome these seasonal issues? Avoiding the trap of common winter health myths is one way we can protect ourselves (and even save some money, in some cases). But, ultimately, a few basic things is all it takes to avoid the worst of a seasonal drop in health:
- It’s important to stay active. As tempting as it is to use the shorter days and cold weather as an excuse to curl up in bed, ignoring your exercise needs can definitely contribute to a lower level of health in the winter. Since we spend so much time indoors, we don’t even get in the extra steps we benefit from simply by walking around and enjoying beautiful summer days. To help balance this out, it’s important to exercise in a gym or at home, with machines or weights, depending on your personal fitness level and exercise needs. You can also use some of our own exercise ideas to take a break from a standard machine and weight workout!
- Produce should be a key part of your diet. At least half of the food we eat at every meal should come from a fruit or vegetable source - and it can admittedly be harder to meet this recommendation during the winter. It’s not impossible, though! While some of your favorites may be missing from the shelves right now, there are some produce items that are in-season during the winter months. And even if you need to settle for frozen or canned foods for a while, that’s ok! Eating colorful fruits and vegetables is a must year-round, and your body will benefit from them even if they come from a can or freezer.
- Sunscreen is a must. Summer rays aren’t just a summer health hazard! Even during the winter, sunlight and its UV rays can be harmful. In fact, because the Earth's surface is closer to the sun right now than it will be in the summer, those UV rays are more intense than you realize. To protect your skin from sun damage - and to reduce your risk of suffering from the adverse affects of this damage - you should follow basic skincare tips this season, just as you would during sunny summer days; this includes wearing and properly applying sunscreen (or using skincare products with SPF in them) on a regular basis if you’re expecting to spend any amount of time outdoors or in the sunlight.
And that’s it! Tricks like these will set you on the right path during the winter. And of course, should you need a little extra care and asisstance during the season, you are encourged to contact a doctor at your Genesis Medical office of choice – we’re always more than happy to assist you with your health needs.