Winter Wellness Checklist: Stay Fit, Healthy, And Safe This Season

Beat the dreariness of the season with these winter wellness tips!

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Winter Wellness Tips to Boost Your Mood Improve Your Health This Season

1. Enjoy the Outdoors to Beat Sadness

Winter wellness tip number one: don’t skip on the outdoor activities if you can. This way, you can beat the winter blues.

Also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it is a change in mood that usually happens during fall through winter. Scientists don’t have a definite answer to its cause.

A 2015 study, though, suggests it could be due to the changes in the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

This chemical:

If snow is hindering your plans, you may avoid SAD with a lamp box. This device mimics sunlight without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays.

You can use it at different times but preferably:

  • Within an hour after you wake up
  • For only 20-30 minutes

2. Exercise Those Limbs to Reduce Pain

Do you have arthritis or back pain? Are you sensitive to pain?

Then you need to prep for the winter. The colder temperature can affect your body in different ways:

  • It can reduce blood flow while your skin becomes more rigid or less flexible.
  • The muscles can also shrink, pulling the nerves and generating sensations of pain.
  • The body’s pain sensors can become more sensitive.

You can decrease pain by exercising. This allows your body to circulate blood properly and reduces the rigidity of the limbs.

Even better, bring exercise outdoors to improve your mood. One of the winter health tips for seniors is to focus on low-impact movements.

This is especially true if you have musculoskeletal disease or injury. Exerting too much effort may do more harm than good.

3. Eat Wisely to Avoid Weight Gain

A 2015 study confirmed what many people already know: holiday weight gain is real. It may not be as high as previously thought, but it happens.

There are three possible reasons for this:

  • The holiday season is a time for celebration, which means eating plenty of food at parties and gatherings.
  • The body itself may tell you to eat more. It may use food to increase your heat to fight the cold temperature.
  • You tend to eat more, but you don’t feel like moving a lot. You are not burning significant calories.

One of the best winter wellness tips is to get smart with food. Here are a few tips for maintaining or promoting weight loss:

  • Increase your fiber intake so you feel fuller for a longer period.
  • Focus on healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, or olive oil.
  • Replace simple carbs with complex carbs. Trade your white bread with a whole-wheat variety, for example.
  • Know your metabolic rate. It gives you an idea about the calories you need at rest.
  • Consume fatty acids such as omega-3 from high-quality supplements or fatty fish like salmon.

4. Moisturize to Prevent Dry Skin

The cold, dry air that winter brings can be bad for your skin. It is worse if you already have skin conditions such as eczema.

What is eczema? It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Symptoms can include blistering, cracking, itchiness, and redness of the skin.

During winter, humidity levels decrease. The air then sucks moisture from your skin.

When your skin is dry, it is not only flaky but also itchy. Itchiness can increase your risk of fungal and bacterial infections.

You can improve your skin with these winter health tips:

  • Apply the right moisturizer. If you have eczema, you may need something with urea to help restore the skin barrier.
  • Turn on the humidifier to increase moisture levels in the air.
  • Reduce shower time, especially a warm bath. As much as possible, limit it to no more than five minutes.
  • Invest in fragrance-free beauty products. The fewer ingredients, the better.

RELATED: 9 Winter Skin Care Tips For Harsh, Cold, And Dry Weather

5. Practice Sleep Hygiene to Regulate Your Metabolism

Do you know that lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can lead to senescence? In other words, it can accelerate aging.

One of its biggest impacts is in your metabolism, according to a 2010 research. It can affect your hormone levels, such as insulin and ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone.

Sleep deprivation can worsen your weight gain, dampen your mood, and decrease energy levels.

One of the health and wellness tips for winter is to practice sleep hygiene. The problem is it may be more difficult.

Your circadian rhythm is sensitive to sunlight. During winter, you don’t get enough of that.

You can manage your sleep with these winter wellness tips:

  • Fight the urge to nap in the afternoon. Otherwise, you may find yourself wide awake at night.
  • Remove all devices in the bedroom. The blue light they emit can interfere with your sleep.
  • Try to stick to a sleeping schedule as much as possible. Aim for seven to nine hours a day.
  • Don’t overeat, especially during dinner. Over time, this may lead to stomach discomforts that can keep you awake.
  • Learn to meditate to help calm yourself before sleeping.
  • Avoid any heart-pumping activity at least an hour before bedtime. That includes exercise (unless it’s calming like yoga).
  • If you have menopause, keep your bedroom temperature cool. It helps you beat the night sweats and hot flashes.

6. Relax to Lower Your Stress

Winter may be one of the most wonderful times of the year. For many, it can also be stressful.

A 2015 Healthline survey revealed that 65% of the respondents said they felt extreme stress during the season.

These feelings of stress may be due to:

  • Lack of time
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Pressure to meet the deadlines
  • Fear of meeting family members or hosting them

Our list of winter tips won’t be complete without highlighting the need to relax.

Cope with stress by listening to music or drinking a cup of warm tea (or chocolate!). Learn to manage your anxiety symptoms, as well.

7. Take a Walk to Reduce Lethargy

Don’t you notice how you seem to feel more tired than usual during the winter? It’s not all in your mind.

As mentioned, winter can potentially decrease blood flow. It means you feel less energy.

The cold temperature, lack of sleep, and stress can also contribute to fatigue, so do changes in hormone levels.

How do you get over it? One of the simplest winter wellness tips is to walk.

Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day is already an excellent cardio exercise. It also gives you more reason to be in the outdoors.

Note: What if there’s snow? Do some non-equipment exercises such as jogging in place, Pilates, or yoga.

8. Consume Antioxidants to Fight the Flu

Flu is an all-year-round disease, but the numbers spike during winter. Harvard University provides some reasons:

  • The virus survives longer indoors since the humidity levels are low.
  • More people prefer to stay indoors to avoid the cold.
  • Shorter days or less exposure to sunlight can affect vitamin levels.

One of the winter safety tips is to strengthen your immunity. You can do that by increasing your antioxidants.

These types of food can reduce inflammation so your immune system remains optimal. They’re ready to fight threats such as viruses.

Some options include:

  • Carrots
  • Natural cocoa powder (without added sugar, if possible)
  • A variety of berries
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Red onions
  • Garlic

9. Soak in the Sun to Boost Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins for a reason:

  • It improves the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It plays a role in building healthy bones.
  • Vitamin D helps regulate your immune system.
  • It reduces chronic inflammation.

This vitamin, though, is a sunshine vitamin. You produce it when you expose yourself to the sun.

That’s why you may want to spend more time outdoors during the summer. Meanwhile, one of the wellness tips for winter is to boost vitamin D levels.

Besides spending more time outdoors, you can consider supplementation. Your levels should be from 30-50 ng/mL, depending on your age or gender.

You can make sure you’re taking the right amount by consulting teams like LIV Health. They can create a personalized wellness plan for you.

These winter wellness tips will help you enjoy the holidays while maintaining your physical and mental health. What an excellent way to welcome the new year!

What are your health tips for winter? Share them in the comments section below!

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