Winter is Coming: Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter


Staying Healthy This Winter

Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 15-Nov-2021

Winter is coming and with it comes the all the beauty that the season has to offer. However, while it can be a wondrous time of year, for many people, staying healthy during the winter months can also be a real challenge.

Why Staying Healthy in Winter Can Be Such a Challenge

Young or old, winter can take quite a toll on our bodies. We’re constantly switching from being warm to being cold, and back to being warm. As we move from a warm indoor space to the cold outdoors and/or a cold vehicle, and then back into a warm indoor space, our muscles repeatedly contract and release. This can cause them to become sore and can lead to dull, or acute, body pain.

Our immune system also takes a hit during the cold months, which can leave us more susceptible to illnesses such as a cold or the flu. This risk is even greater for those with a pre-existing health condition and an already weakened immune system.

Winter also generally means more time spent indoors and less time spent being physically active. Not only is reduced activity detrimental to our physical health, it can also adversely affect our mental health. Increased time indoors may also mean increased isolation from friends and family, which can also affect our mental health.

Tips For Staying Healthy This Winter

Of course, there are various steps you can take to help mitigate these risks and ensure you and your loved ones stay healthy this winter. Here are a few simple tips to consider. 

Keep Up With COVID-19 Protocols

Although increased vaccination rates have led to further re-openings and relaxation of restrictions, the pandemic is still with us. In fact, with winter comes an increased risk of transmission, so you need to continue taking all safety measures as recommended by healthcare professionals. These include wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, and keeping a safe distance from others. We might be done with COVID-19, but it’s not entirely done with us, so stay vigilant.

Don’t Forget About Cold & Flu Season

Thanks to several safety measures brought on by the pandemic, we have seen a decrease in cases of the colds and flu over the last year and a half. But winter still carries with it the possibility of getting sick from a cold or flu. To go along with washing your hands and not touching your face or mouth, ensure that you get adequate sleep and ample vitamin C and D through food or supplements.

Also, if you feel any of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu (fever, cough, sore throat, etc.), stay home and get some rest. 

Practice Good Hygiene

It’s already been mentioned, but it’s definitely worth reiterating the importance of good hygiene, especially during cold and flu season. Make sure you wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap vigorously for at least 20 seconds. If you’re not wearing a mask, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you’re going to cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, use the crook of your elbow.

Avoid crowds if you feel like you are sick or in the process of becoming sick. Try not to touch your face, eyes, and mouth as well. Sanitize common areas of your home, car, and workplace to kill any germs or bacteria that may be on them. Don’t forget to sanitize your phone, too! 

Stay Active

A healthy body can lead to a more robust immune system, which can do a better job of fighting off any germs or bacteria that may enter your body. Exercising for thirty minutes, five times a week can do wonders for your overall physical and mental health. However, even ten to twenty minutes a day of movement can have noticeably positive effects.

Winter may limit our ability to exercise outside but you can still easily go for a vigorous walk or hike. You also have virtually unlimited options for indoor activities! Yoga or Pilates is an excellent way to stay limber, and if you have any free weights or an exercise bike, make a plan to use them a few times a week. 

Improve Your Diet

Winter often brings with it the desire for more comfort foods. Unfortunately, many of the foods we enjoy during the winter months might not be the healthiest. Of course, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to some winter favourites now and then, but your overall diet should contain a few essential components.

Look for foods high in vitamins and antioxidants, such as citrus fruits, berries, carrots, butternut squash, ginger, artichokes, kale, and beans. Here are some more winter food ideas to grab the next time you’re at the grocery store.

Also, if you plan on attending holiday dinners or get togethers, try to avoid overindulging in, sweets or alcohol. As with most things in life, moderation is the key. 

Dress Appropriately

Even if you’re running out to your car to grab something, take a few seconds to throw on a jacket and a toque. Approximately 30-50% of body heat can be lost through your head, so it’s important to never skip throwing on a warm hat. Make sure your winter coat meets the temperature standards for your climate and invest in a good pair of warm boots. Never choose fashion over function, or you might find yourself under the weather!

Keep Your Home Warm and Comfortable

According to Greendeal.ca, you should set your thermostat to 21 Celsius when you’re just lounging around your home. When you’re sleeping or not home, it should be set to something closer to 16 Celsius. If you like to sleep when it’s a little colder, consider using a fan instead of opening a window. 

Get A Leg Up on Staying Healthy This Winter

Many of us tend to wait for January first before we start thinking about making some changes to improve our health. But staying healthy is, and should be, a concern all year round. So, don’t wait until January. Instead, start thinking about getting healthier now. One of the best places to start is by thinking about your diet. To that end, here is an excellent follow-up read and infographic that can help to get a jump up on January, and make the coming year a truly happy and healthy one. 

 

If you need help with getting healthier this winter or if you have any questions about staying healthy this winter, contact us today. Let us show you why, at Physiomed, Healthier Starts Here.


Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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