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A Healthy Winter

The winter season is a beautiful time of year. From my office window, I watch the leaves fall and snow pile up along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Even if you live somewhere that does not see a great deal of snowfall, the holiday season comes with decorations and events, making it hard to resist the holiday spirit.

For those of us in our journey toward optimal health, holiday cheer can be bittersweet as cold weather and festivities with family and friends challenge our Habits of Health. Cookies and candy are some of the obstacles, but winter presents other potential speedbumps:

  • Less sunlight can mean lower levels of vitamin D and can leave you feeling glum and sluggish.
  • Poor weather conditions can interrupt workout plans, making it more difficult to get your steps or to do the activities you love.
  • Slips and falls are more common in icy conditions, and even a minor sprain can lower our activity levels.
  • Friends and family may ask you to “take a break” from your Habits of Health for the sake of celebrating the holidays.

The winter season does not have to be a difficult time of year for your health. In fact, you can embrace what makes this time of year unique and discover new sources of enjoyment that still support your Habits of Health. Here are some ideas:

  • If sunlight is hard to come by where you leave, consider vitamin D supplements, but talk to your physician first.
  • Winter workouts can still be fun. Malls or indoor tracks are great for walking programs, and climbing stairs can be a good substitute as well. Don’t forget that you can also pick up a seasonal hobby like skiing or ice skating to stay active and have fun in the process.
  • Don’t forget to shovel and salt your stairs and walkways. It may seem silly to emphasize a point like this, but a preventable injury can save you a great deal of heartache and keep you active.
  • Holidays are about time with loved ones. They are not about food. If you plan ahead, you can enjoy the season without compromising your Habits of Health. Read my previous guide to learn more.

What do you do to stay healthy and active during the winter? Share your tips with the community!

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