It's official. December is here. And for a number of you that means, along with those holiday parties and pecan pies, there are cold temperatures and dreary skies. And, of course, the flu and other maladies that keep you home from work, school and the gym. But don't feel like the odds are against you! You can still have a healthy winter. All it takes is a few simple smarts:
1. Eat right. With the grill packed away for the winter, now is the time to reacquaint yourself with the kitchen. Use nights and weekends for trying out new, healthy recipes. These new culinary achievements can be used for lunches (to keep youself out of that drive-thru), and for the next office potluck or family get-together. That way, you'll know for sure that there will be at least one healthy (and delicious) option to choose from.
2. Stay Active. Invest in cold-weather fitness equipment. Snowy streets and icicles hanging from tree branches combine to create somewhat treacherous walking and running conditions—if you're not prepared. But if you love getting cardio outdoors, consider investing in great gear that keeps you going. And ultimately pays for itself in good health. Think warm layers that wick sweat and sturdy shoes that combat ice and slush.
3. Keep it clean. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to keep your winter a healthy wonderland: wash your hands, and wash them regularly. And don't just rinse—really wash them with soap and hot water. This world we live in, although beautiful, can be quite dirty. It's a cheap and effective way to ward off sickness. With the simple flick of a faucet switch, you can do your part to stop the transport of germs to yourself, your loved ones and anyone else you come in contact with.
4. Set goals. Don't make a New Year's resolution, make a winter resolution based on SMART goals: Make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. And make them right now, not on January 1. Goals (resolutions) made at that time are hardly ever reached. In fact, they're often forgotten by February 1. So start toward your goals right now in the name of good health (not the new year) and you might find greater success in the long run—and get ahead of all the holiday cookies, flutes of Champagne and blustery winter nights that keep you longing for a fireplace and good book.
5. Don't forget your vitamins. Get more Vitamin C and D in your life. Vitamin C won't cure the common cold, but it might boost your immune system—and we could all use a stronger immune system when the flu is running rampant through offices, schools and gyms everywhere. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is known to strengthen bones and combat depression, and is created primarily when our skin sees the sun (which, unfortunately, is not always prominent in the dark days of winter).
Last, but certainly not least, just a simple reminder that you hold the key to your health. A shift from summer to fall to winter is nothing more than a flip of the calendar. Even though the changing seasons bring new challenges, these challenges are stepping stones that carry you from one day of your life to the next. Remember, they're not at all the roadblocks we so commonly consider them to be. Embrace them.
For more tips on how to stay healthy in the winter months visit pokitdok.com
Tara Sabo is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, mother and wife. She writes about these roles and more at www.adailydoseoffit.com and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, too.
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