Even for the most fitness-focused among us, staying healthy and physically fit during the winter is a challenge. Winter is the time of year that makes you want to cuddle up inside and only leave your warm bubble when absolutely necessary. However, your body needs movement, your system needs nutrients, and your brain needs stimulation in order for you to stay healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can get these necessities this winter while staying safe and healthy.
Wash Your Hands
The winter months are always prone to outbreaks of contagious illnesses, such as the flu, making it important that you practice good hand hygiene during this season. With the COVID-19 pandemic picking up again in areas across the country, this year it’s more important than ever to frequently wash your hands. This will reduce the chances of you spreading germs to others as well as to yourself.
When you wash your hands, use soap and warm water. Wash between your fingers and under your fingernails for about 20 seconds and then rinse and dry them well. Do this whenever you get home from a public space or after your touch something that’s come in from outside of your home. Until you thoroughly wash your hands, be sure to avoid touching your face so that you don’t catch any illnesses.
Don’t Skip Doctor Visits
With the dangers of viral illnesses all around, it can be tempting to cancel all of your appointments and engagements. While you should postpone events like parties and large gatherings, you shouldn’t skip any visits to the doctor you have scheduled. You could be putting yourself at a higher risk of getting sick if you don’t go to your healthcare provider for routine screenings and appointments. Screenings are essential for maintaining your overall health and catching problems early.
By this point in the pandemic, doctor’s offices have procedures in place to see patients safely and effectively. If you go in person, you won’t have to worry about a crowded waiting room as most offices have taken steps to implement social distancing in them. Many practices also now offer telehealth appointments, allowing you to video chat with your doctor if you have a concern but don’t want to go to the office. If you’re looking for a new healthcare provider, check online first. About 77% of patients use online reviews when they search for a provider, as they are a great way to gauge how the provider treats their patients. Recent reviews and information on their website will also be able to tell you about the COVID-19 precautions their practice is taking.
Not only is an active lifestyle important for a healthy heart, lungs, and bones, but it can also help improve your immune system so you can better fight illnesses. However, prolonged intense exercise can actually suppress your immune system.
Exercise regularly but in moderation. Going for a brisk walk for 30 to 60 minutes every day is perfect for keeping your body active. If you want something a little more vigorous, go for 20 to 30-minute runs or do aerobic workouts three to four times a week with weight lifting in between. If you have an indoor swimming pool, which can raise your home’s value by as much as 7%, use that you get the exercise you need. Swimming is a great form of exercise that engages many of your body’s muscles but isn’t too harsh on them.
One of the best tips for staying healthy in the winter is to dress in layers. You should do this whether you’re staying in at home or heading out of the house. By wearing a shirt with a sweater over the top, you can set your thermostat to a moderate temperature and then take off your layers or add them on to stay comfortable.
When you leave the house in freezing temperatures, make sure you’re covering your extremities. You lose most of your body heat through your fingers, feet, and head even if you’re only outside for a short amount of time. Make sure to dress in warm gloves, a hat, and boots when you go outside. Remembering to wear winter gear like boots will also help keep you from falling on snow or ice. Although slips and falls are the number one cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and over, anyone of any age can fall on ice and be seriously injured. By wearing boots with tread and watching where you’re going, you’ll be able to better avoid dangerous falls.
Stay safe this winter by being vigilant about your health and following these tips. It can be hard to get back to full health after being sick or injured, so the best way to stay healthy is to avoid illnesses and accidents however you can.