Whether you like it or not, the snow is coming–and soon. The clouds turn grey, our driving schedules change and temperatures drop to downright freezing. It’s normal to feel a little sluggish once the cold hits; it’s harder to motivate yourself to drive to the gym in the mornings or after work, you feel less ambitious about making healthy choices with the lack of fresh options and the lack of vitamin D can make you a little sad. There is an endless list of little inconveniences that come along with frigid temps and falling snow, and they all amount to one thing: your mood and general well-being tends to decrease in the winter months.
Good news, though: this drop in your general health and happiness can be prevented–but it takes a little effort on your part. After all, happiness and a healthy lifestyle are always choices we need to make, no matter the temperature. There’s a reason so many new year resolutions center around weight loss and health: our attention to our healthy lifestyles tends to disappear in the winter. Here are some tips to stay healthy & happy all winter long.
Adapt your Exercise Routine
If you don’t plan ahead, your exercise routine may start to recede with the arrival of winter. Before you know it, your 3 or 4 workouts per week dwindle to just 2 days per week and you find yourself gaining extra pounds and feeling down and out about your health prospects. To be ahead of this curve, make an exercise schedule for yourself and stick with it. Want some added accountability? Ask a friend to join you! Choose classes or times in your schedule that work for you and plan your week so you aren’t trying to spontaneously fit in group classes or quick workouts on your own. It may be difficult for you to stick to a schedule at first, but if you can make it a habit, your body and mind will thank you.
For added convenience, pack your bag or set out gym clothes the night before. It will save some time in the morning or after work so you can go right to the gym!
Get Creative with Workouts
Runners: did you know that running outside in the cold months can actually be good for you? There’s far less heat stress on your body, so running is far less taxing in winter than it is in the humid summer. Make sure you gear up properly, however–you don’t want to slip! Invest in shoes with added grip and plenty of comfy, warm layers. Also, winter may even be one of the best times to take up running. Running is an incredibly good way to boost your metabolism which tends to slow way down in the winter thanks to the fact that we tend to eat a lot more but move a lot less.
Curious about other outdoor options? Try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing! Both are great ways to see nature, enjoy time outside and boost your metabolism. These activities are both great for family outings, too!
Modify your Comfort Foods
Sugar, carbs and fatty foods are extra appealing in cold weather because we all want that added comfort of warm, tasty meals. These comfort foods are often full of added calories, which doesn’t help our case in the winter when we are already feeling extra lazy. Consuming high amounts of calories from fats, sugars and carbohydrates causes our metabolism to get even more sluggish and lowers our motivation to workout because frankly, our bodies don’t feel well when we eat improperly.
Enter fiber-rich, whole grain options: foods high in fiber help our brains release more serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Try starting your day with oatmeal or whole-grain toast and almond butter or tossing your favorite protein in a bowl of whole-grain pasta. These heartier foods will feel comforting because they’re warm and rich, but they don’t pack the weight of fattier, more sugar-laden options.
Be Aware of your Emotional Health
Winter blues can sneak up on you if you don’t make an effort to remain positive. Surround yourself with loved ones and good friends–and don’t stop socializing just because driving gets difficult or your schedule gets too busy. Make time for fun, and also know when you need time to yourself to recharge.
Winter is a great time to start meditating, so check out Omvana (the app) or begin by just taking a few quiet minutes to yourself each morning where you disconnect your phone, sit alone somewhere quiet and prepare for the day.
Sleep is essential to rejuvenate your body and mind all winter long. Try going to bed a little earlier to accommodate your early rise for your AM workout or meditation session. The added snooze time will boost your mood, help your metabolism function properly and give your body the time to recover from any strenuous workouts.
This year, make your health resolutions easier to achieve by adapting your lifestyle for the winter! If you’d like help on beginning meditation, planning a new exercise, staying safe while running outside or are in need of a nutrition plan, schedule a consultation with me at Lifestyle Chiropractic – 920-499-3333.
Best of health,
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman