- Take care of yourself during the winter by dressing appropriately and making use of layers, hats, gloves, and scarves when necessary.
- When exercising, stay hydrated! Cold weather can diminish thirst, which can lead to dehydration.
- Several vitamins and minerals that help support human health throughout the winter are B vitamins, vitamins C, D, and Zinc – among others.
How To Stay Healthy During Winter Season
Wintertime is often lauded as the most wonderful time of year – and it certainly can be! There are lots of outdoor activities for people who enjoy the cold, like sledding, ice-skating, skiing, etc., but the cold weather can certainly take a toll on the human body. With so many different opinions and approaches, it can be difficult to know how to stay healthy during the winter season.
Here are 5 tips for winter wellness:
- Rest well – It can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep with colder temperatures and fewer hours of daylight, but getting enough sleep can help the body and mind reset and refresh each day.
- Consider adding more vitamin D to your diet – Since there are fewer hours of sunlight in the northern hemisphere during the winter months, humans have less access to one of the most reliable sources of vitamin D: our nearest star! Foods like fatty fish, eggs, and cheese are good sources of vitamin D, or you might consider taking vitamin D supplements to compensate for the loss of sunlight exposure.
- Consider adding more vitamin C to your diet – As colder temperatures drive people indoors, the risk of spreading pathogens and illnesses can increase. Ensuring that your body has enough vitamin C can help boost the immune system’s response to any foreign bodies (especially viral infections).
- Don’t skimp on skincare – In the wintertime, the cold air and frequent hand-washing can more easily dry out the outer layers of the dermis. Lotion regularly, apply chapstick when necessary, and take steps to ensure that your skin stays healthy and sufficiently hydrated.
- Practice self-care – Because there are many holidays and familial gatherings throughout the winter months, it can be difficult to remember to take care of your own needs. There’s nothing selfish about practicing a little self-care in the name of winter wellness; taking care of ourselves is one of the best ways we can help ensure that we have the strength to care for others as well.
Best Way to Stay Healthy in the Winter
It’s important to understand that there’s no one ‘best’ way to stay healthy in the winter. Because everybody is different, there are likely numerous ways of staying healthy through winter; it’s just a matter of finding out what works best for you and your family. If you are a parent and you are wondering how to keep your child healthy during winter, there are a variety of things you can do to help boost their immune system and reduce their chances of injury or illness as a result of the cold or inclement conditions.
While many fruits and vegetables go out of season during the winter in the northern hemisphere, there are numerous other healthy sources of vitamins and nutrients that can be quite flavorful and help stave off those wintery chills. Broth-based dishes, roasted vegetables, and squash are all flavorful and nutrient-rich options to help warm the body and soothe the soul.
Another major contributor to the difficulties of winter is the cold, dry air. Dry air can irritate the nose and dry out the sinuses, which then makes people more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like sinus infections and bronchitis, among others (1). Utilizing an air humidifier can help mitigate some of the issues caused by the cold, dry air of winter, and humidifiers can be especially helpful for people prone to nosebleeds and other respiratory ailments (1).
How to Take Care of Your Health During Winter
When it comes to cold weather health tips and how to take care of your health during the winter, there are a variety of different things you can do to help stay warm and active throughout the season. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it’s important to properly winterize your home to protect your family from the elements. Depending on where you live and what kinds of amenities are available to you, it can be beneficial to install weather stripping around windows and doors (and other places where cold air may seep inside) (2).
How to stay healthy during winter season likely looks a little different from person to person; there are general winter health tips that can provide basic guidelines, but ultimately, each person’s picturesque image of the ideal winter health is going to look different. Make a note of the things you tend to struggle with during winter so you can develop an action plan to help manage or remedy your wintertime ails.
Some nutrition tips for winter might include focusing on healthy sources of carbohydrates, which can help boost the production of serotonin. Some carbohydrate-rich foods include beets, nuts, squash, sweet potatoes, whole grains, and yams. You might also consider supplementing your diet by adding vitamin c, vitamin d, and zinc (3). Vitamin C is supportive of the body’s immune system, and vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and promotes healthy bones. And Zinc, which is also in foods like fish, dairy, and eggs, can help better prepare the body to fend off foreign pathogens (3).
How to Stay Healthy and Fit During Winter
Many people struggle to find the motivation to work out even when the weather is beautiful, so why is it hard to work out in winter? If you are one of those people who wonders how to stay healthy and fit during winter, or if you want to know how to exercise in the winter without going to the gym – don’t worry! You are not alone. Developing a robust winter workout routine takes persistence and dedication, but there are numerous benefits of exercising in winter.
Exercising in colder weather can potentially help improve endurance. According to Dr. Adam Tenfordge, assistant professor of sports medicine and rehabilitation at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, there are some benefits you can get from working out in the winter that you can’t get during the warmer months. “In colder temperatures, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, you sweat less, and expend less energy, all of which means you can exercise more efficiently,” Dr. Tenforde says (4).
For people who want to exercise in the cold, it’s especially important to take measures to stretch and limber up before and after exercising to help avoid the possibility of injury. It’s also imperative to dress appropriately – wearing layers can be very helpful – for the weather and to never brave the conditions if there are winter weather alerts in your area. Be sure to stay hydrated, as well. Because cold air stymies thirst, it can sometimes be difficult to hydrate sufficiently. Even though the air may be cold, the human body still sweats to maintain its internal temperature, so try to drink as much as you would (if not more) for a summertime workout.
Safety Tips for Winter Season
People who spend even just a little bit of time outdoors during the winter know that conditions can be harsh and difficult to deal with, even for relatively young and healthy individuals. Below are a handful of safety tips for the winter season to help you navigate the cold of winter and all that it entails.
Outdoor winter safety tips:
- Wear appropriate shoes with decent traction
- Protect extremities with gloves, warm socks, and a scarf and/or hat
- Stay hydrated and stretch if exercising outside
Winter safety tips for home:
- Clear snow and ice from frequently used walkways
- Ensure vital alarm systems like the smoke detector and CO detector are functioning
- Have your furnace or fireplace regularly inspected by qualified professionals
Winter workplace safety tips:
- Wash frequently hands, especially when touching surfaces in common areas
- Don’t go to work if you are ill and potentially contagious
- Pack extra clothes and try to be aware of whether your workplace is warmer or cooler during the winter
It’s important to practice safety year-round, but it’s especially important during the winter when cold and icy conditions can make even the simplest of outdoor activities precarious and potentially even life-threatening.
Daily Routine in Winter Season
Depending on your proximity to the arctic circle, winter mornings in the northern hemisphere can be bitterly cold and dark, leaving many people to wonder how to make the most of your winter mornings. Establishing a daily routine in the winter season can help reduce stress levels which can improve overall mental health and potentially allow for more time to relax or prepare for any upcoming tasks or responsibilities.
The daily routine of a student in the winter season might look a little different – especially for young adults in high school or university that may have a different schedule every semester. For university students, it can be harrowing having to walk across campus for an early class when it’s windy and snowing outside. But trying to find a routine that works well for you can help improve your mood as well as your productivity. Human beings are creatures of habit; we enjoy our routines. The difficult part is developing routines that are truly beneficial for us.
Even if you aren’t able to find a routine that works for you this winter, at least you’ll know what not to try next year. And thankfully, the seasons don’t last forever. Within a few weeks, winter will abate, and surely as the sun rises – spring will come again.
- “9 Tips To Stay Healthy During the Long, Cold Winter Months” Cleveland Clinic. 18 November 2022. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-prepare-your-body-for-winter/
- “Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 13 December 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/winterweather/index.html
- “Maintain Energy with Nutrition this Winter” University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 11 March 2015. https://share.upmc.com/2015/03/maintain-energy-nutrition-winter/
- “The wonders of winter workouts: Exercising in colder temperatures offers many advantages” Harvard Health Publishing. 1 December 2018. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-wonders-of-winter-workouts
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