Winter can be challenging however there are my winter health essentials, tips that go a long way towards not only reducing pain but making winter far more enjoyable for those of us who spend time in northern climates. December through March can be very challenging for many of us however implementing these simple tips goes a long way towards improving our mental and physical health as well as our ability to fight off infections and disease.
Dress in Layers: Wear multiple layers of clothing to trap heat and provide insulation. It has my long term patients know I'm a huge fan of microfiber undergarments and shirts in layers. These moisture-wicking fabrics as a base layer to keep sweat away from your skin.
Protect Your Extremities: Wear gloves, hats, and warm socks to protect your hands, head, and feet from the cold. Also keeping your neck covered with a scarf or other fleece like wrap helps to preserve body temperature as exposure to the large arteries in the neck can help us feel cold much more quickly.
Appropriate Footwear: Maintaining foot warmth is crucial to controlling not only foot but all over body pain! Opt for insulated and waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Here again wool or microfiber socks go along way. This is particularly important for patients who suffer from peripheral neuropathy.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water, unless of course you are on a fluid restricted cardiac diet as dehydration can make you more susceptible to cold-related illnesses.
Moisturize: Cold air can be dry and harsh on your skin. Keep it covered and protected. Sunscreen is also particularly important in the winter as the angle of the sun can sometimes be more dangerous than summertime exposure. Mineral-based sunscreens not chemical-based are far safer! Use a good moisturizer to prevent dryness and cracking. You don't need to go crazy with expensive lotions that have fragrances multiple preservatives et cetera that can be irritating or sometimes downright toxic. I am a huge fan of simple compounds like coconut oil and lanolin.
Protect Your Eyes: Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun's glare on snow, which can be intense and harmful. Wrap around Polaroids are still the best in my book.
Keep Moving: Physical activity generates body heat. Engage in regular exercise and activity to stay warm and boost circulation.
Maintain a Warm Environment: Keep your home well-heated, and use extra blankets or a space heater if necessary. There are now inexpensive electric heaters with UV light that can actually help kill viruses and bacteria which are the ones we use in our homes. Ensure windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent drafts.
Be Mindful of Frostbite and Hypothermia: Learn the symptoms of frostbite (numbness, tingling, or pain in extremities) and hypothermia (shivering, confusion, slurred speech).
Seek medical attention Immediately if you suspect either condition.
Plan Outdoor Activities: Check weather forecasts and plan outdoor activities during milder parts of the day. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather conditions.
Winterize Your Vehicle: Ensure your car is equipped with snow tires and that all fluids are topped up. Keep an emergency kit in your car with essentials like blankets, snacks, and a flashlight. Practice Good Respiratory Hygiene: Extreme Cold air can be harsh on your respiratory system. Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf to help warm the air you breathe. Boost Your Immune Health: Eat a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to support your immune system. There are now some very simple at home supplement packs we call now recommend at the first onset of a new viral like illness.
Maintain Mental Well-being: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in winter. As are. Feeling like down or depressed. This is why getting first morning some light exposure is so critical every single day of the year. Spend time outdoors, expose yourself to natural light, and ask us about this if needed. An outdoor winter hobby like bird watching can also be extraordinarily helpful.
Keep an eye in the sky. Crazy with online or especially television weather forecast but do stay aware. Quite fun to track at home with simple barometers thermometers et cetera.
Remember that individual tolerance to cold varies, so adapt these tips based on your personal needs and health conditions. If you have specific health concerns or chronic conditions, make sure your schedule examination with your personal physician ~ We Are Here for You
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