Enjoy winter by making sure you stay positive, active and connected. By investing just a few minutes each day, the following suggestions can favorably affect your well-being. Spending time in your hot tub is another. It’s part of a holistic approach to wellness with significant positive benefits. Just 20 minutes a day can help you reduce stress, increase flexibility and circulation, promote muscle recovery and improve sleep.
Yes, winter is here and the clocks have been turned back. It’s dark earlier and longer, and it’s getting colder. Your inner voice is probably suggesting that you eat a mound of unhealthy foods and hide under blankets.
Resist! There’s no reason the winter months can’t be lively, healthy, enjoyable and energetic. Most of our ideas require only a few minutes a day but could really help improve your state of mind and body. Start now and form habits that can carry you through winter.
When there’s snow, some activities are obvious. Skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and ice skating will all keep you fit. While these are great winter activities, they also take significant time and may require a full weekend. Here are a few other ideas that need less commitment.
• Go sledding. Sure, going downhill doesn’t take much energy, but you have to get up the hill first. You’d be surprised what a fantastic workout you can get in just a few runs with the kids.
• Try out a fat-tire bike. The super-wide tires with traction treads finally make it possible to ride in snow. Plus, they’re an absolute blast.
• Strap on your snowshoes. According to an article on the University of Utah website, a 150-lb woman will burn 500 calories in an hour on snowshoes. Compare that to 271 calories without.
• Walk in any weather. As they say in Scandinavia, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Dress in layers and get outside for a calorie-burning, mind-clearing walk, no matter the weather. Do it daily to maintain a positive attitude while you stay toned and energetic.
In winter, we tend toward comfort foods that fill us up and make us feel like hibernating. You’ll do a better job of staying fit and healthy by avoiding sugary and starchy foods. Instead, opt for vegetables, grains and other complex carbohydrates. Even at holiday gatherings, there are usually healthy options available. A good diet should be a lifestyle, not a recovery plan. A few other ideas:
• Natural Vitamin C. In-season produce can help you get plenty of Vitamin C during the winter months. Stock up on clementines, grapefruit, kiwi and sweet potatoes.
• Don’t forget the Vitamin D. With less exposure to the sun, it’s important to get vitamin D during the winter months. Concentrate on a diet with fish, soy, mushrooms and other foods high in vitamin D. You may also want to consider taking a vitamin supplement.
Lighten and Brighten
Besides decreasing your exposure to vitamin D, lack of light in the winter months has also been linked to seasonal depression and lethargy. Take time to get outdoors every day and take steps to increase your exposure to daylight whenever you can.
• Use your hot tub daily. Besides giving you all the benefits that come with 20-minutes in a hot tub, you’ll be exposed to sunlight and fresh air as you take a warm, comforting soak.
• Keep your shades and draperies open while you’re home during the day. Brighten each room as much as possible. At the office, try to work by a window when you can.
• Use brighter light bulbs and light the rooms you’re in as much as possible.
Winter can tend to isolate us in our homes. Instead, work to keep your personal connections intact.
• Watch the game. Why watch a hockey, basketball or football game alone when your friend is doing the same thing in his or her home. Celebrate or commiserate together.
• Meet a friend after work for coffee or an appetizer before heading home.
• Invite friends over for dinner, a movie or board games.
• Relax with friends in your hot tub. It’s a great way to keep personal connections intact and relax in warm water in any weather.
Liven Up Your Home
In addition to brightening your house with lighting, make sure your living space is clean and fresh. It’ll do wonders for your state of mind. A few ideas:
• Occasionally open the windows and fill your house with fresh, crisp air.
• Keep your bedding fresh.
• Clean any area that could harbor mold by wiping up condensation or any other moisture. Keep bathrooms clean to avoid mold that will grow when exposed to steam from showers and baths.
• Add flowers for a hint of bright color. Even artificial flowers can help lighten up a room.
• Play music that helps you feel energized.
It’s comforting to have a project to keep you busy during the winter. If you don’t have an activity you can turn to, go to the library and look through books on craft ideas. There’s a huge trove of project ideas there that you can tap into and add your own personal touch.
Set Your Sleep Clock
Many of us wander through our days sleep deprived. Yet winter naturally affects our internal clock and makes us want to sleep more. If you have the time, give in and catch up on your rest. Use the early dark hours to your advantage and begin establishing a sleep pattern that will give you eight or nine hours of sleep.
Use winter’s cold temperatures to your advantage. People sleep better in a cool room with temperatures ranging from 54 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a nightly soak in your hot tub to raise your body temperature and relax. When you go to bed, your body temperature will drop, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep. Read more about how your hot tub can help you sleep in our sleep-related blog entry.
Never Waste a Sunny Day
Make a pact with yourself. Any day when the sun is shining, get outdoors and spend 10 or 20 minutes in the light. It can do wonders for your mood. But remember, just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should skip the sunscreen.
Use these tips to enjoy your winter months, and you’ll feel energetic and ready to launch into spring when it arrives.
What Do You Think?
What do you do to keep the winter months interesting and fun? Is it business as usual for you, or do you add activities and events into your life to keep you moving and inspired? If you have ideas to add to our list, please share them with us and our readers.
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