Wintertime Health Can’t Be Taken for Granted

It’s flu season here in the U.S. from the beginning of fall to the end of winter.

Between holiday gatherings, work parties, kid functions and traveling, no one has time to be sick during the winter season. It’s not just the flu, though.

During the winter, people are more likely to have dry, chapped skin, possibly suffer from a heart condition due to shoveling snow, get cold sores due to colder weather or experience painful joints.

By preparing early and committing to being healthy, hopefully you can feel your best all winter long.

Tips for a healthy winter

In order to prepare for wintertime weather:

1. Get your flu shot – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone aged six months and older get their annual flu shot. In the U.S., 36,000 people die each year from the flu and more than 200,000 are hospitalized. Since the flu shot can greatly increase your chances of avoiding the flu, it is absolutely one of the best ways to avoid getting sick this season.

2. Keep warm – Heart attacks are more common in the cold weather months due to your heart having to work harder in order to keep your body warm. Make sure your heater is properly tuned and working, build a fire if you have a fireplace, keep your home at a comfortable temperature and use a heating blanket when you sleep. If you have to shovel snow, make sure to dress accordingly to help stay warm.

3. Protect your skin – If you’re a victim of terribly dry, itchy skin in the winter, there are products that can help. The article “Combat winter with coconut oil for skin” states that using coconut oil regularly on your skin can help keep it moist and soft in a natural way. Lotion only seems to last an hour or so, but coconut oil will last all day if used habitually.

4. Stay active – Joint pain is caused from both inactivity and cold weather. Try to stay active by going for a walk, joining an indoor gym, doing an at-home workout video or even going ice skating. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that’s an excuse to sit around and do nothing. Find fun ways to keep moving and boost your health.

5. Get your rest – A large factor in staying healthy is getting enough rest each night. Sleep experts recommend each person get between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted rest each night. Most of us fall short, especially if you have young ones at home. Try to get as much sleep as possible, though. Make your room cozy and comfortable, go to bed at a decent hour and relax (read or do yoga) before falling asleep.

6. Choose healthy foods – While it’s easy to give in to all your food temptations over the holidays, that’s not the best choice for your body. If you’re going to splurge, limit yourself to one treat per week and choose healthy foods the rest of the time. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy can all contribute to you feeling healthier and happier during the winter.

Many people wind up depressed in the winter months because they choose to not leave their house and eat junk.

This winter, do the opposite!

Plan fun activities for the family, cook healthy meals and build a snowman outside.

Winter doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it!

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on a variety of topics including small businesses, health and personal finance.

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