It’s wintertime, and everywhere you turn, someone is sniffling or coughing. How do you keep yourself healthy during this time of year? The winter months can cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and being cooped up indoors is a sure-fire way to get sick.
Staying on top of your winter health and nutrition is one fundamental way to keep your A-game on during cold and flu season. Preventative measures to ensure your best health during the winter can keep you illness-free and ready to tackle your workouts.
One way to look at your winter nutrition and health is to make sure you are eating properly and getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals year-round. During the winter months, you may lack certain minerals and vitamins. For example, sunshine in the summer can help ensure you are getting Vitamin D, but the short dark days of winter, you may be lacking this vitamin.
Keeping your nutrition at the right level is valuable when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle, but winter can make it challenging. Keep these tips in mind during the winter season.
Winter Vitamin & Mineral Tips
Vitamin D: Also known as the sunshine vitamin, it is essential year-round. If you live in an area where it is darker earlier in the winter, you may be lacking the vitamin D that you are naturally getting in the spring and summer months. Some foods rich in Vitamin D are listed below:
- Orange Juice fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D
- Dairy Products
- Egg Yolks
- Canned Tuna
Vitamin C: We all have heard about how important Vitamin C is to our health. This vitamin is rich in antioxidants and can keep your immune system in check. Make sure you are eating the following to keep your vitamin C levels high during the cold and flu season:
- Citrus Fruits
- Orange Juice
Zinc: Your body doesn’t store zinc, so it is crucial to make sure your zinc levels are maintained during the winter months so it can help maintain and repair your immune system.
- Dairy Products
- Beans & Lentils
- Whole Grains
- Multivitamins (check the levels on your bottle, some will only contain small percentages of zinc)
Vitamin A: Besides being important for vision, vitamin A plays a role in reducing the risk of infections.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Dairy Products
Keeping your immune system in its optimal condition is the best defense you have to keep yourself healthy in the winter, especially with all the cold and flu viruses running rampant during this season.
It can be easy to fall out of sync with your health routine when the weather is less than ideal. Surround yourself with those who want you to achieve these goals and perhaps have similar goals themselves. When you are committed to a group exercise program, you are surrounding yourself with friends that will help make sure you stay on track.
There are many other ways you can boost your health during the winter. See below for tips on keeping your immune system healthy.
Boost Your Immune System
Sleep: Are you getting plenty of sleep on a regular basis? When you get enough sleep, your body can regulate your hormones, repair your blood vessels, sharpen your memory, and keep your immune system healthy.
Exercise: Stress levels decrease when you are on a regular exercise routine. Your sleep levels are easier to maintain when you exercise consistently. Studies have also shown that exercising can help prevent the common cold and keep allergy congestion in check.
Circulate the Air: Try to open the windows to circulate the air in your home for 5-10 minutes a day, even in the winter. This fresh air, especially with cross ventilation, will help boost your immunity.
Listen to Your Body: When you are feeling off or just not your usual self, it’s okay to take a mental health day and relax. Check out our mindfulness series for tips on relaxation and exercising your mind.
Meal Planning: Make sure you are planning for your meal so you are not making impulsive decisions when you get hungry. Planning your meals and snacks can help ensure you are eating a well-rounded diet. Nutritious meals and snacks help boost your immune system as well as complement your fitness journey.
There is scientific evidence behind the desire to stay cozy and warm inside on darker dreary days. This desire to “hibernate” is related to our vitamin D levels.
Ensuring you get the right amount of vitamin D in the winter can keep you healthy and prepared. But it is also important to realize that it is ok to feel the desire to “hibernate.” This is a natural feeling in winter. As mentioned earlier, the friendship and sense of community formed in group fitness can combat this by keeping you motivated during the “hibernation” season.
Remember that preventative medicine is always the best medicine. Prioritizing your health and wellness year-round will place you in the best position possible to stay healthy during the winter. Be sure you are taking care of yourself.
It’s What We Do!
SPRINGWELL Exercise Clinic helps people build healthy habits surrounding exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle year-round. The great thing about our program is that people build meaningful relationships with other members. When you work out as part of a group, it keeps you accountable and wanting to come out for your exercise session! Read more about our unique program and what SPRINGWELL has to offer.