It’s important to live a healthy lifestyle all year round, but it’s especially important during winter. The cold weather can wreak havoc on your body and your immune system, and that makes doing all you can to stave off illness and cold all the more important at this time of year.
Here are some top tips for staying healthy during winter that the whole family can take on board and implement.
It sounds obvious, but a lot of people fail to dress adequately for the cold weather. Sure, wearing multiple knitted layers, big boots, a wooly hat and chunky mittens might not be the cutest look, but the potential health risks are way less cute than your big coat.
If you’re planning on going out in sub-zero temperatures, make sure you have a foundation layer, a mid-insulation layer and an outer layer as a minimum. You’ll also want to make sure you have thick socks, good shoes, a hat, scarf and gloves, too. These will help to keep your core nice and warm which, in turn, will prevent you from getting frostnip or frostbite, as well as stopping you going into a state of hypothermia which occurs after extended exposure to cold weather.
Staying warm is about more than just your clothes; it’s about your house, too. Make sure you maintain a temperature that doesn’t dip below 64.4°F. This will ensure your home is adequately heated and ready to warm you after you’ve been outside in the cold.
During summer you’ll more than likely crave light lunches like salads, sandwiches and healthy grilled dishes, but in winter it’s more natural to want hearty stews, heavy casseroles and hot, chunky soups. If you’re dieting or calorie counting, you might be inclined to avoid the more calorific meals, but it’s really important that you don’t. Listen to what your body wants; you’re craving more substantial meals because your body requires more fuel to keep you warm.
Of course, you still need to eat a balanced diet, so make sure you’re enjoying plenty of fruit and vegetables along with your comfort foods.
Winter is commonly referred to as cold and flu season, and for good reason. It’s the time of year that common colds and illnesses like influenza circulate heavily amongst society. Cold winter weather doesn’t cause colds (no matter what old wives tales say) but it does encourage the spread. You can catch a cold or the flu at any time of the year, but winter is the most prevalent time to fall sick because you’re likely to spend more time indoors with other people. Being indoors when it’s cold outside means ventilation is at a minimum, and that means viruses like the common cold are more likely to spread under these conditions.
One way to help your immune system is by keeping your home ventilated and keeping windows open. Another way is to regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face if you do come into contact with someone who has cold symptoms.
It’s also worth being aware of the norovirus (the winter vomiting bug) as well as the increased risk of asthma flare ups.
When it gets cold outside, your skin will dry out which can cause painful breaks and flaking. This is only intensified by increased hand washing. To combat dry skin, make sure you moisturise more regularly throughout winter. Your skin is your biggest organ so it’s essential you look after it like you would any other organ
Summary: These simple tips should help you keep you and your family healthy and happy this winter, so make sure to give them a go this cold season!
Find more health tips in our archives.
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