Stay Well This Winter With These Easy Tips

February 20, 2013

The cold and wind of winter is creeping up quickly. A Michigan winter is no excuse, however, to cave in to unhealthy habits. Instead, use these winter wellness tips from Henry Ford Macomb family medicine physician Jackie Friedman, MD, to keep a “spring” in your step all winter long.

Ward off colds and flu

Being sick is no fun, so prevention is key. Get a flu shot and wash your hands frequently.

“When out in public, don’t touch your eyes and keep hand sanitizer with you.”

Viruses are easily transmitted from your hands to your eyes and into your body. If you do get sick, the usual rest, fluids and extra vitamin C can help.

Rest up

“Sleep is underrated. Getting enough rest – 7 to 9 hours a night – prevents illness, keeps you sharp during the day, improves mood and even can help you maintain a healthy weight because you aren’t snacking late at night.”

Stay hydrated, eat right

The body needs the proper amount of fluids to function, no matter what the season. Remember, water or even a nice hot cup of tea is best. Many fruits and vegetables also have a high water content.

Frozen veggies work just fine when fresh vegetables are not in season. Keep moderation in mind – especially during the holidays – when it comes to eating habits.

“Vitamin D is what we get from sunlight and most of us are deficient, especially in the winter. I recommend 1000 IU (international units) supplement daily.”

Pamper your skin

Winter weather is drying so resist the temptation to take a hot shower and opt for warm instead. Also, invest in some good quality moisturizer and lip balm.

Keep exercising

It might be hard to get motivated in the dead of winter, but once the blood starts flowing the rewards are great – a healthy heart, a nice waistline and a good mood.

“I was riding my bike in December last year, so you never know what to expect. A brisk, 30-minute walk every day is something almost anyone can do. I tell my patients if the weather is bad outside, go to the mall and walk. I also tell them to watch the weather forecast. If it is going to be a beautiful, sunny day, take advantage of it and go outside.”

Dr. Friedman also recommends yoga. And, of course, for those who don’t mind bundling up, winter sports like ice skating or just playing in the snow work too.

Maintain a cheerful attitude

Some people need sunshine to maintain their sparkling personality. All kidding aside, lack of sunlight can affect mood. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), in which case light therapy may help. Others may just need to be a little more creative.

“Find something you enjoy doing and take some time for yourself and indulge.”