Stay Strong: Better Health During Winter Months

It is common for humans to sort of hibernate during winter’s cold months. Our calorie intake increases, physical activity decreases. Result: lack of energy, weight gain, colds and flus.

Q: Is it okay to exercise in the cold?

A: Exercise is a good way to strengthen the immune system during the cold months and to gain more energy. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about exercising in cold weather is the need to dress too warmly. Exercise produces lots of heat — it tricks you into feeling like it’s much warmer than it really is. But once your sweat dries, you can get very cold. It’s important to wear layers. Remove them as soon as you start sweating and put then put them back on as needed. Slim people may need more padding than someone who is heavier. Wear a scarf or a face mask to warm the air before it hits your lungs. Protect your feet with extra thick socks. Don’t forget about your hands and ears which are vulnerable to frostbite too.

Q: What are some good comfort foods to serve kids during winter?

A: Soups. Hot soups are one of the best comfort foods during snowy winters. You can make soup at home from scratch or buy ready-to-heat cans from grocery store. Soups are healthy and delicious and fairly inexpensive. They help prevent winter cough and cold and are also great decongestants.

Hot Chocolate: What’s tastier than a cup of rich hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows, when your hands are cold from the freezing temperature outside?

Q: How can I get more vitamin D in the winter?

A: Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D. But if you live in a place where most days are grey and gloomy, you need to find other ways to get enough sunshine for your daily dose of vitamin D. Spend as much time outside as you possibly can to take advantage of every sunray.  Go for a walk or eat your lunch outside. Your hands and face will absorb some vitamin D. It may not be your required dose of vitamin D, but it’s better than nothing and the fresh air will be good for you on many levels too. Egg yolks and salmon are the foods with high amounts of vitamin D, so eat more of these foods in the winter. A last resort, take Vitamin D supplements.

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