Although many hate winter, we can't change the fact that we sometimes love snow and the pristine color of the white Christmas, but we should also adhere to health tips for winter so we could enjoy it to the fullest.
But what happens normally to our bodies in winter?
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Cold weather leads to the reduction of the blood flow in the lower extremities so our body can preserve its heat in the upper region like in the torso and the head, which causes reduced white blood cells that help fight and destroy germs to keep us healthy.
Okay….that's quite a handful to understand. Too medical, right?
To put it simply, during winter, we are immunocompromised and at this time we have to boost our immune system to keep healthy, with or without coronavirus going around.
But this is not just about strengthening the immune system, keeping healthy in winter encompasses also other factors to be fit and fully functional during this cold season.
Grab your tea or coffee to keep you warm now and let's be healthy with these health tips for winter.
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Health Tips For Winter We All Need To Follow:
You may think you don't dehydrate in winter because you are barely thirsty, but you don't notice it because of the cold weather.
Regardless of the season, rehydration is essential. So during winter, especially when it is dry, stay hydrated and drink water.
If you're always on the road, carry always a water bottle so you won't miss drinking water a day.
You can also track your drinking habit by using this digital tracker.
Drinking lots of water also helps in avoiding bladder infection or what is commonly known as Urinary Tract Infection, which is common for women during cold weather.
UTI can be very painful, may impede your daily activities and also disturb your mental well-being.
– Spoil your skin
Although winter is cold, it doesn't mean we are free from the harmful rays of the sun. There are days during winter that sunlight appears, and it is more even more painful to our skin.
Because we don't normally get thirsty in winter, we are prone to dehydration and that shows in our skin as well.
To protect our skin from the sun and also from drying out, it is recommended to apply a moisturiser or an ointment we can apply to our skin.
Clothing plays a role in our skin, too. As much as we love using wool to keep us warm, it gets itchy and if we scratch; it worsens and maybe leads to more serious skin problems.
You don't have to ditch wool at all, but you can reduce the itchiness of your sweater or any clothing made of wool by massaging it with a hair conditioner when it is still damp.
When it is cold, a hot shower might be the best solution. As enjoyable as it sounds, a longer shower makes your skin drier. So limit your hot shower moment and should not exceed 10 minutes.
-Strengthen your immune system with these foods
Since we lose white blood cells during winter, we can boost its production to fight infection by eating foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits like oranges, clementines and lemons.
Vitamin C protects not only us from infection but also aids in maintaining healthy skin.
Another excellent source of vitamin C are bell peppers which might be a surprise to you and bell peppers contain 3 times more Vitamin C than citrus fruits.
If you're afraid to acquire any virus-causing diseases (like COVID) that will harm our respiratory system, include blueberries in your diet or together with yoghurt, which is a probiotic.
Blueberries contain a flavonoid called anthocyanin that helps boost our immune system, which has been supported by this study as well.
Ginger also reduces inflammation and is best taken or eaten after getting sick. You don't have to chew ginger if you can't, which is understandable, you can mix it with your hot tea with lemon and honey.
Keeping your stress at a healthy level is key to your immune health. Managing stress doesn't really mean avoiding stress because stress is inevitable.
It is alright to be stressed since it also helps us to keep going. During stressful situations, hormone adrenaline is released. So consider stress as an adrenaline rush that urges you to do something, but prolonged stress leads to inflammation and imbalances of immune cell function.
So how can you manage stress in winter?
- Be positive – It might be hard for some to be positive when everything's dark and grey, but there's nothing we can do about this natural occurrence. What we can do is change our mindset and accept as it is.
- Engage in social activities – During winter, there might be clubs in your areas wherein you can join and engage with other people. You don't have to do activities outside when it is freezing, but there are activities you can do inside. You might try cooking club, art club, singing club or any club that might fit to your interests or hobbies.
- Talk with your significant other or friends – Talking is therapeutic, and it helps in reducing any burden you have. You might not find any solution, but just sharing your thoughts, problems or worries helps you ease out the stress you're carrying.
- Don't forget to relax – Your planner might be full and you always think of to dos and other responsibilities, but you should relax and chill a little. When you're tired, relax and get some catnap.
-Stay active and exercise
Exercise helps not only in losing some weight and getting rid of those annoying fats but exercising also helps get rid of bacteria out of the lungs and boosts overall well-being.
During this pandemic time, staying active can be one of the best health tips for winter, although it might be difficult to implement.
If you think jogging might not be for you, especially when it is too cold outside, you can do some workouts at home. You only need a yoga mat, sports shoes and other home workout accessories.
– Get adequate sleep
When you're feeling unwell, you are often told to get some rest or sleep, which in fact really helps to regenerate your body and health.
During sleep, cytokines are released, which boosts the immune system. Cytokines are also associated with inflammation, so when we are ill, this inflammatory response helps with the recovery as our body works to fight off infection.
It might be already obvious to you, inadequate sleep leads to a weakened immune system but aside from that, it also causes fatigue, lack of focus and a short temper.
If you have difficulty falling asleep, grab this free copy of my Good Night's Sleep.
Other health tips for winter to stay fit and well:
- Get a flu jab – In Germany, people get their yearly influence flu shot to decrease the risk of getting the infection. In fact, the government urges the people to get the flu jab besides COVID vaccine.
- Stay warm in winter – There are many ways to stay warm in winter. You can start with a warm clothing like thermal leggings, sweater, a winter jacket. Sweater and jacket may not be enough to keep you warm, so layering with other garments is also advisable, like adding a sleeveless undergarment before your sweater. You can also warm yourself by drinking a hot cup of cocoa or milk, or even coffee.
- Wash your hands frequently – With or without pandemic, washing hands plays an important role in avoiding infection and contamination. If you're on the road, washing hands may not be possible, but you can always a hand sanitizer, anyway. Protect yourself and the surrounding people by applying this basic health tip.
- Live a healthy lifestyle and ditch your bad habits – If you're following healthy regimens that will benefit your body and optimal health, then there's no reason for you to get sick in winter. But living a healthy lifestyle also comes with ditching bad habits like smoking, taking illegal drugs, or any habits that are harmful to your health.
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