When the sun is shining and the weather is warm, the motivation to get outside and exercise comes much easier. But when the cold weather comes around, that motivation can take a nose dive.
Whether you’re retired, a busy parent, a single professional or a child, there are many fun and creative ways to keep moving this winter to help fight off colds and the flu, and maintain your overall health.
Park Farther Away
Those extra steps can add up. It may be good to buy a pedometer to track exactly how many steps you take each day.
Challenge yourself to increase that number over time to at least 10,000 steps a day or strive for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity.
Along the same line, take the stairs instead of an elevator, or walk to a coworker’s office instead of simply sending an email.
A moment away from your desk also can be beneficial to your mental health too.
Get Moving (or Walking)!
Try incorporating exercise into your holiday shopping.
Next time you head to the mall, wear you walking shoes and pick up the pace. It’s a great indoor way to get exercise and to socialize with other walkers.
Try Winter Sports
Another option is outdoor winter sports, such as, skiing, ice skating or snowboarding. Just remember to always dress in layers.
Despite the cold temperatures, your body can still sweat. By dressing in layers, you can easily remove a shirt or hat if you do get hot.
One thing to remember about layers: Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin.
Keep Eating (Meals) and Drinking (Water)
Drinking water or a sports drink during your workout is important, even if you don’t feel thirsty. It’s important to try and stay hydrated throughout the day.
“Most people only think of hydrating during the summer or hot weather, but it’s just as important in the winter,” said Jill Lucas, a Carilion Clinic health educator. Don't let the cold weather sabotage your diet.
Probably the easiest thing to remember when it comes to dieting is not to skip meals, especially breakfast. Even if you have a big dinner planned, it’s important to eat a hearty breakfast with protein to help keep you full for most of the day.
Get Your Flu Shot
The most important thing you can do to stay healthy and avoid illness during the winter is to get the annual flu vaccine. Carilion Clinic offers free community flu clinics as well as multiple locations where you can get your shot.
While the winter chill may be coming over you, take action now to maintain your health. Making minor adjustments and changes in routine can have a major impact.
By starting now and getting yourself into the habit of exercising and eating healthy consistently, you can prevent unhealthy habits from snowballing this winter.