Fall is truly is my favorite time of the year. Cooler mornings, bright sunshine and the turning of the leaves just make me feel refreshed and energetic. You’re probably wondering why I want to write about winter wellness when it’s only Fall but the change in season is a perfect time to look at ways we can keep ourselves healthy and balanced over winter.
Keep reading to learn how you can make this seasonal change a healthy and comfortable one!
Let’s start with exercise. Cold weather doesn’t provide much motivation to exercise but it’s important to stay active during the colder months. Exercising is a great way to boost your immune system and release those ‘feel-good’ chemicals that help improve your mood. Aim for 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day or 2.5 to 3 hours per week. This may mean hopping on a stationary bike, joining a group exercise or yoga class, or swimming laps in the pool. To others it may mean snow shoeing or skiing. All are great options for physical activity—the important thing is that you find a way to make exercise a part of your daily routine! In addition to maintaining your cardiovascular fitness, be sure to add some strength training exercise which is great for whole-body wellness.
The types of movements and loads that we experience during late fall and winter also dictate a change in how we move and lift. Here are some “pearls of wisdom” to follow that will spare you unwanted injury:
- Warm up and stretch your muscles lightly
- Gradually increase your load
- Take time to gently move instead of making aggressive movements
Cooler weather also changes our need for calories and proper nutrition. We NEED more GOOD calories this time of year. Carbs get a bad rap sometimes but eating hearty, slow-releasing healthy carbohydrates are essential for our bodies as we work and exercise outside. Eating thermogenic foods (heat and energy producing) like brown rice, green tea, hot peppers, coconut oil, fish and eggs can help you stay warm and toasty throughout the coldest months. Be sure to add extra spices to your food to boost your immune system and incorporate as many bright colorful fruits and vegetables–fresh or frozen—into your meals.
Your immune system helps to keep your body healthy and strong so it’s important to give it a boost during the winter months when we are more susceptible to the cold and flu. Taking Vitamins C (2-3,000 mg/day), D3 (5,000 units/day) and E (400 mg/day) are essential to your immunity and minerals zinc (25-50 mg/day) and selenium are needed to optimize your immune response. Your gut is your biggest immune organ so be sure to treat it well with regular quality probiotic usage.
Lastly, pay close attention to how your body functions mechanically as we transition into the colder season. I routinely see patients whose spine function diminishes this time of year for many different reasons. If we move well, our body functions more highly and our winter wellness is maximized.
At HFM Chiropractic, it’s our goal to make sure you’re operating at peak performance this winter and feeling your best until warmer weather arrives.