In the winter, it can be easy to give in to a multitude of unhealthy habits. Between feeling lethargic because of the short daylight hours, all of the readily available holiday treats, and the difficulties caused by weather, it can be tempting to just curl up with a book and a treat and hibernate until the spring. However, there are some great ways to stay active in the winter, even with all of those hurdles to jump over. Below are some tips that will have you up and moving this winter.
Tips to Keep You Healthy and Active This Winter
Think of Your “Why”
When you’re trying to make healthier choices in your life, it’s best to find something that motivates you to make the best choice you can. If you are trying to be healthier just because you feel like you should, you’re more likely to end up falling back into unhealthy habits. However, if you have a definitive reason why you’re trying to be healthy, it can be very helpful to staying on track or even getting back on track when something goes wrong.
Shovel the Driveway
One easy switch to make to get active this winter is to shovel your driveway whenever you have time. If you’re usually very inactive, start by doing a small part of your driveway with your shovel and do the rest using a plow or snowblower. Eventually, you can work up to shoveling the entire driveway. Make sure before you start to partake in any form of cardio-based exercise that you consult with your doctor first. Many people are injured while shoveling their driveways because they have not built up their strength or cardiovascular endurance before attempting to shovel their entire driveways.
Find a Form of Exercise You Love
The key to staying active is finding a form of exercise that you love (or at least enjoy to some degree). For children and teens aged seven to 17, the most popular recreational activity is swimming, and if you are like them and love swimming, you can use that as your form of exercise. In the winter you’ll need to find a gym or other indoor pool to swim in, but many gyms and rec centers have them available for members’ use.
You can also find a form of exercise that you can easily fit into your life. If you love dancing, you could spend 15 minutes in the morning doing a dance workout. There are nearly endless fitness dancing videos that are available on YouTube, so you won’t even have to pay for your workout. There are actually many different forms of free exercise videos online, so you can experiment with finding a free workout that is perfect for you and that you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home for.
Get Some Sun
As the hours of daylight get shorter, it becomes harder to get the same amount of sunlight that we usually do in the warmer months. Though it is more challenging to get some sunlight in when the sun goes down at five instead of eight, you can still do it. You can take a walk outside during your lunch break or partake in an outdoor winter sport, like skiing or snowshoeing. Even a classic snowball fight that happens during the day can mean that you’re getting more sun exposure.
Eat Nourishing Foods
In the winter you’ll probably be eating more hearty, heavy foods in comparison to the spring or summer. You should try to eat more seasonal foods, like sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, apples, and pumpkin. You can find a list of seasonal foods here. These foods are a little bit more hearty, and since they’re all in season, there is less of a distance they have to travel. Make sure you’re getting a healthy mix of carbs (really — they aren’t evil), healthy fats (like avocados!), and protein. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist if you’re trying to figure out the best kind of diet for you.
If you’re going to holiday parties or other events, make sure that you’re limiting your soft drink consumption. Soft drinks have become increasingly popular, going from an average of two per week in 1942 to two per day in 2000, so they will likely be available. If you’re looking for a bubbly alternative, look for sparkling water or sparkling 100% juice. Although there is still sugar in juice, it is more natural than the artificial sugars and additives found in soda.
Cut Down on the Drinking
With so much time spent bored indoors in the winter, it’s easy to start drinking a little bit more. Between nights in and holiday parties, you will likely be tempted to drink more than usual. However, it’s important to try to cut down on your alcohol consumption as much as you can. If you’re at a party, try to pace yourself by alternating between drinking one alcoholic beverage and one water, whether you go for sparkling or flat.
When you’re trying to decide what alcoholic beverage to go with, you should definitely consider red wine. It has been linked in numerous studies to positive health benefits. In the end, though, it may be better to just stick to water or another non-alcoholic beverage.
Watch Your Step
Because there’s more ice and snow everywhere in the winter, you’ll be more likely to slip and fall. Considering the fact that 22% of slip and fall incidents will mean 31 or more days away from work, a slip or fall can really impact your life. Make sure that you’re wearing shoes with good traction, you take small steps, and you stay on cleared paths when you’re walking on sidewalks.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to be healthier, making an effort to improve your health and wellness is a great choice. Try out these tips, and let us know in the comments what you do to stay active and healthy during the winter months!