How to Improve Your Health This Winter

Boost your overall health with these seasonal tips.

With winter at its peak, it is important to not let the cold and dark nature of the season get to you. There are lots of ways winter can affect your health – from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), to colds and flus, to dry skin, to weight gain – but there are steps you can take to ensure you stay happy and healthy all season long. Take control of your well-being and stay on top of your health resolutions for the year with these tips.

Watch What You Eat

In the winter, it can be tempting to eat whatever you want. Between holidays, wearing clothes that offer full-coverage, and wanting comfort foods in cold weather, it’s easy to overeat foods high in sugar and carbs. But despite the feel-good chemicals these foods release in your brain, they can seriously impact your health and ruin your weight loss goals. Rather than eating junk food, try to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Instead of reaching for candy when you are craving something sweet, go for oranges which are in peak season from January to April and offer large doses of vitamin C to help boost your immune system. Craving something crunchy? Try baking kale in the oven to make healthy chips. Kale is also in season in the winter — it’s nutrient dense, is packed with antioxidants, and is a great source of vitamin K.


Increase Exercise

It can be hard to find the motivation to exercise during the winter when the sun sets before the end of the work day. However, incorporating exercise into your daily routine is a great way to fight off those winter blues and the extra winter weight. Doing anything from a quick at-home workout to trying a new exercise class is a great way to burn calories while also relieving stress and releasing endorphins. Despite what the cold weather may be telling your body, it is important to get up and move. Sitting too much is never good, but it becomes easier during the winter when it’s cold out. In addition to completing regular exercise, make a point to get up throughout the day and walk around.

Embrace the Weather

We can’t control the weather, so the best thing to do is embrace it. Winter weather brings tons of fun outdoor activities along with it. Finding time to go outside and do anything from going ice skating to sledding has tons of benefits for you and your whole family. The exposure to the sun will help your body produce vitamin D and help improve your mood. Just be sure protect yourself from UV rays and wear sunscreen (yes, even in the winter) and moisturize your skin after exposure to the dry air!

Take Precautions to Fight the Common Cold

In the peak of cold and flu season, it’s important to take extra measures to protect yourself from getting sick. Be sure to wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer after coming in contact with other people. It’s not too late to get your flu shot either – getting the vaccination will help your body flight off strains of the flu to keep you healthy all winter long. Additional precautions to take include sticking to a consistent sleep schedule to give your body the rest it needs to recharge and boost your immune system. You should also find ways to include vitamin and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet to keep yourself in tip-top shape.

Stay Hydrated

With all the dry air, the dehydrating effects of winter can be incredibly damaging to your skin. While you may want to drink coffee or tea to stay warm, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as well. Water will cleanse your body and keep your skin supple throughout the dry season. You should also moisturize your skin daily to help prevent dry and flaky skin.

Related:

The Benefits of Using a Humidifier in the Winter

Dr. Oz’s 14 Natural Immunity Boosters

8 Winter Wellness Myths

Will you ever feel comfortable in your own skin? That is, if you don't make an effort to protect it? Although 64% of adults do report wearing sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods of time, it turns out that only about 10% of people surveyed actually protect themselves daily, according to a recent review.

No matter what your skin tone is, unless you live in a cave with no sunlight, daily protection with either sunscreen, sunblock or protective clothing can not only protect you from developing sunburns (ouch!) but can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, particularly the deadliest type called melanoma. In addition, for those of you wanting to keep your youthful looks, daily sunscreen has been shown to reduce the development of wrinkles. A great teacher once told me that the best way to not have wrinkles is not to get them in the first place (think of how much money you can save on useless creams that claim to diminish wrinkles).

Keep Reading Show less