7 Ways to Prepare Your Body for Winter

Temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter – winter is right around the corner. That means that now is the perfect time to prepare your mind and body so that you skate through the season happy and healthy. Follow these tips and you can maintain your healthy habits through the upcoming season.

  1. Build meals around in-season produce. Winter doesn’t have many fruit-and-veggie-filled farmers markets, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck eating only meat and carbs until spring. While it’s true that you can’t find fresh Michigan cherries right now, you can still build meals around produce like butternut squash, kale and sweet potatoes. Get inspiration with these healthy recipes using easy-to-find produce.
  2. Work out at home. It’s important to keep your fitness routine intact—not just because it burns calories and keeps your weight in check, but also because it fights off feelings of depression. That said, it can be challenging or even dangerous to run outside or head to your local gym when the roads are slick and covered with snow. The solution? Exercise at home. These cardio workouts and strength routines can all be done in your living room without any special equipment. Looking for more motivation? Follow along to a streaming workout video.
  3. Learn how to shovel snow the right way. Before the first big storm hits, take a few minutes to refresh yourself on the safe way to shovel snow. It takes a lot of effort to lift and move heavy snow, which is why every winter people injure their backs while doing it. Check out these tips for correct form (and signs that you should speak to a doctor beforehand to make sure your heart can handle it).
  4. Get some sunshine. With days lasting about half as long as they do in the summer, there are fewer opportunities to be outside for a dose of vitamin D. This can weaken your immune system, making it that much easier to come down with a cold or flu. In the middle of the day, make a point of going on a walk and soaking up some sun. Or plan some outdoor activities that you can’t do in the summer, like snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
  5. Prioritize shut-eye. Shorter days are the perfect excuse for a bit of hibernating. Doctors recommend sleeping seven to nine hours per night to keep your body as healthy as possible. In fact, University of Chicago researchers found that cutting back on sleep leads to your body producing fewer flu-fighting antibodies.
  6. Keep your skin safe. A common mistake people make in the winter is assuming they don’t need sunscreen. The sun may not feel too hot, but it still has UV rays and can burn your skin. Pick a moisturizer with sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and you’ll be all set for winter. Dealing with dry skin? Try a humidifier, switching to a thicker lotion and avoiding long, hot baths.
  7. Drink up. When it gets cold out, it’s easy to forget about drinking plenty of water. But staying hydrated is still super important in the winter: It keeps your energy levels up, boosts your immune system, aids digestion and helps skin stay moisturized. Toss a reusable water bottle in your bag and try to sip on it throughout the day. Another way to take in more water: Eat juicy fruits like apples and oranges.

Photo Credit: Ian Collins

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