Five Easy Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter (With A Little Motivation From Michael Scott)

by Joanna

This blog is going to be full of ways to stay healthy for the rest of the winter. You've probably heard them before.

Do you do them? Sometimes.

Do they help you stay healthy? It's research based, so, yes. 

Are they boring? Yes. So I thought I would spice it up with a little Michael Scott wisdom from The Office. 

1. Stay Active

I know it's cold outside this time of year in Wisconsin. I hear a lot of people struggling with staying active or run outside because they don't like being out in the cold, but this is no time to hibernate! Exercise is not just for weight loss or weight maintenance. Remember, your heart is a muscle! Getting your heart rate up can help manage stress, reduce risk of heart disease, improve mood, improve sleep... The list goes on. If you want to exercise outdoors, dress appropriately. You can also stay indoors and get active! Check out Coach Megan's Winter Workout Wonderland post. 

2. Eat and Drink Well

Because a lot of people don't get as much activity during the winter as they do in warmer weather, it's important to adjust caloric intake. Want to mill two seeds with one stone? Increase vegetable intake during the winter--you'll not only get lower calories that other options, but also loads of vitamins and minerals. This also goes for liquids. Even though it's not hot outside, your body still needs water to function optimally! If you can't drink water because it's cold, try hot tea. My favorite is The Republic of Tea--such great flavors.

3. Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs during the cold and flu season (along with keeping your fingers out of your eyes, nose and mouth.) Proper hand washing can be a little daunting. Pretend you are scrubbing in for surgery. Use soap and a lot of friction by scrubbing your hands, between your fingers, and wrists for a full 20 seconds. Then get to the operating room, STAT. 

4. Sleep

This can be challenging during the winter because the days are shorter. It's darker longer, and our circadian rhythm (the body's internal clock) can get a little out of whack. It's hard to get out of bed when it's completely dark outside! The National Sleep Foundation says that as many as 90% of people have mood and energy levels affected while about four to six percent have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.) Getting into a routine can help combat unwanted changes in sleep.

5. Vitamin D

Lastly, getting the recommended amount of vitamin D in the winter can be hard. Why? Sunlight stimulates the production of this precious vitamin which helps maintain a good level of serotonin, a chemical in our body that helps fight depression and anxiety. Just 15 minutes of sun each day during the spring, summer and fall, can help store up what the body needs to make vitamin D during the winter. Food-wise, two servings a week of fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, are rich in vitamin D. Don't like fish? Try mushrooms or fortified milk, including almond and soy milk. Check out the USDA Dietary Guidelines for food sources of Vitamin D

I know these are not ground-breaking ideas, but they are research based and really do work to help you stay healthy over the winter! Which of the above do you need to work on the most? Do you have advice for readers to make one of these tips easier? Please share in the comments below!

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