Happy Winter Solstice! Winter can be a wonderful time of year, but for many people it can mean several months of misery if they live in a part of the world which experiences severe cold weather during the winter months and I wanted to share the first part of my new Winter Wellness Guide.
On the one hand, there are all sorts of exciting winter activities:
- downhill skiing
- cross-country skiing
- and other outdoor winter activities.
On the other hand, there is the temptation to pretend we are a bear and just hibernate until the spring thaw comes.
The truth is, becoming inactive during winter can be one of the worst things you can do for your health. It might seem tough to enjoy the short days and long nights of winter, but spending time outside during each winter’s day offers several health benefits.
Being cooped up indoors leaves you more prone to colds and flu, since you will be surrounded by other people coughing and sneezing.
Exercise boosts energy levels and mood. It also helps you burn calories, which is very useful if you tend to gain weight around the end of year holidays in the Northern Hemisphere.
More Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a hormone our body produces as a result of exposure to the sun. We can take supplements, but 30 minutes of sunshine per day (wearing sunscreen, of course) can give us all the D we need.
Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Winter can cause many to feel the blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, affects millions of people around the world. It is caused by the lack of daylight during the short winter days, especially when there is bad weather.
SAD can trigger depression, illness and weight gain. Colds and flu can make people (and their immune systems) even more depressed. Getting out in the sun is the best way to combat SAD and live life to the full each winter.
Many people pack on the pounds in the winter. They crave hot “comfort foods” to warm up on a cold day. The holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas in the US can be a diet disaster. Eating more and working out less, if at all, because of the cold weather, is a recipe for weight gain and getting out of shape. By the time spring rolls around, you’ll be a couch potato, and look like a spud in your swimsuit if you’re not careful.
Skin and Hair Issues in Winter
Winter weather is a lot colder and drier than summer weather, which means it takes its toll on your skin. Your hair might start to look dry and brittle like straw. Your skin might become chapped, red and flaky. If you already have dry skin, winter can make it much worst. Paying attention to moisturizing your hair, face and skin can keep you looking and feeling great.
Dressing for Safety in Winter
Last, but not least, you need to dress for safety in winter. Cold kills. A hat, scarf, gloves and proper footwear to match the weather conditions are all essential.