Winter is coming, or you may be reading this with a frost already covering the ground. No matter where you live in Canada, one thing remains true—winter is a struggle.
It’s not just the snow and road conditions that we need to worry about; it’s our health, too. So before heading out into the cold temperatures and icy roads, take a few minutes to prepare your body for what winter will bring.
When the temperatures drop, our bodies naturally want to keep warm. To do this, we start turning up the heaters and donning thick coats and scarves outside.
Unfortunately, both can create dry conditions that dehydrate our skin and limit precious vitamin D exposure—a key component for healthy body function. Colder temperatures mean activities like running outdoors or playing sports become more difficult, if not impossible.
This lack of movement often leads to decreased physical activity levels, leaving us feeling sluggish with less energy overall due to a dip in endorphins (natural happy hormones released through activity).
The good news is that there are many healthy tips for helping to prepare your body for winter, inside and out.
Start by increasing your water intake. During colder months, our bodies crave more moisture from foods like soups and warm beverages such as tea or coffee. Consider adding a few extra glasses of water—hydration is essential to keep skin healthy as we move through the colder season.
Dressing appropriately for the conditions can make all the difference to your health this winter. For outdoor activities, start with a base layer with wicking properties (made specifically for activities such as running) and add breathable waterproof layers, a hat and gloves.
This way, you will stay warm yet avoid sweat buildup, which often leads to colds and other illnesses down the line.
On cold, dark winter days, it sometimes feels like the sun never rises. To ensure you get enough vitamin D, consider taking supplements throughout the colder months since true sunlight can still be limited even during the day.
Don’t be a couch potato! When the outdoors gets too cold, think about going to the gym or doing indoor sports like tennis. Swimming is another excellent, low-impact option for those close to a pool.
Finally, consider exploring new ways of keeping your body active from home—try yoga or pilates if it interests you and seek other fun physical movements that foster increased circulation and breathing.
Finally, sleep plays an important role in staying healthy during any season. Make sure to create time to get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted rest each night. A good night’s rest supports natural immune functioning, which will help keep illnesses at bay during winter months when flu viruses are most prevalent.
In addition to active movement and hydration, spice up your diet. Many spicy foods, such as chilli peppers, boost immunity by increasing cell activity around the body.
Other herbs like garlic produce great health benefits, too, such as inflammation reduction in throats from colds. Experiment with classic winter dishes that can aid your health throughout this time of year (stews and soups come immediately to mind!).
If you’re looking for more information or personalized advice on how best to stay healthy in Calgary over the winter months, book an appointment at Calgary Integrative Medicine today. Our team is experienced in providing customized treatments tailored specifically to your needs.