The winter can be brutal; it’s hard to stay healthy when there is comfort foods inside and two feet of snow outside. Your health is basically thrown out the window. Whether it’s over eating, under exercising, or simply letting the winter cold take advantage of your body, it’s safe to say that health is the last thing we think about. Here is some advice on how to survive through to warmer weather.
Most people gain 10 to 15 pounds in the winter, yikes! The reason for this is because our bodies store fat more easily as the temperature drops. Unless you’re an avid skier, or hockey player, it can be especially hard to get cardio exercises in during the colder months. The only option is the gym, but there are some ways that you can trick your body and make the most out of your winter workout.
Lack of exercise is one thing, but warm comfort foods are especially appealing in the winter. Lack of sunlight in the winter actually causes us to crave carbs and sweets. When the days are shorter, serotonin on the brain is less active. This absence makes you tired and hungry. The reason you crave carbs is because carbs actually make your serotonin levels rise.
One of the main areas that suffers in the winter is our skin! We spend less time outdoors and more time blasting the heat and taking scorchingly hot showers, which severely dries out our skin. Cold air has much less moisture than warm air. The result of this is painfully dry skin. An easy solution is to apply a moisturizer daily to fend off winter air. Moisturizers work by trapping water under your skin, or by restoring water on the top layer of your skin if the skin is already dried out. Dry skin can be painful and is easily irritated. When deciding on a product, using moisturizers that are anti-inflammatory, or hydrating are best. Vaseline, Nivea, Jergens or Aveeno are affordable brand options that can be found at a local drug store.
Aside from the weather, actions out of the cold air contribute to drying out your skin. There is no better feeling than taking a hot shower on a cold winter night, but showers with scalding temperatures can be harsh on your skin. Hot showers actually remove the natural oils from your skin, which dry it out. The easiest (but also hardest) solution is to take lukewarm showers. A ten minute, lukewarm shower will help your body keep its natural oils. You can also use body oil, which can be applied while showering. Applying a moisturizer in the minutes following a shower will help trap moisture under your skin.
It can be tempting to crank the heat up to 80 degrees after a cold day outside. Keeping the thermostat between 68 and 72 when home is the ideal temperature. If the temperature is any warmer than that, your skin will start to crack. Most homes use forced air, which can be drying. The best solution is to use a humidifier unit, especially while sleeping, and sleep with the door closed to keep the moisture trapped inside.
Taking care of your body in the winter is extremely important. It’s the hardest time of year to be health conscious, but now that you know the facts and have some advice, it’s up to you to be your best self – especially in the winter!