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When winter arrives and the average number of daylight hours becomes the lowest it gets all year, it can feel tempting to not leave home whatsoever. After all, that piercing cold is far less comfortable than curling up under a blanket and binge-watching your favorite TV shows. Even when it’s freezing out, though, if you don’t leave home often enough, your physical and mental health might suffer. These four things to do for your health this winter will likely help you to properly take care of your body and mind throughout this rough season.
1. Watch what you eat
Although the official start of winter doesn’t arrive until late December, in many parts of the country, it’s already deeply cold by the time Thanksgiving comes around. With this holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve all occurring within roughly one month of each other, early winter can be full of tasty treats and savory meals. That’s why it’s important to watch what you eat during the winter – there is such a thing as too much stuffing or Hanukkah gelt. And on New Year’s Eve, don’t forget that beer has calories.
Even during the parts of winter that lack holidays, holing up at home can increase your carbohydrate cravings. Although the notion of all carbs being bad for you is a myth, overloading on simple carbs such as cookies and chips in the winter can indeed be terrible for your health.
2. Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are naturally found in many fish, are known to boost many healthy bodily processes. They’ve also been shown to combat depression, the rates of which often increase in the winter due to the decreased number of daylight hours. As an additional bonus, these fatty acids are known to promote heart health and combat joint pain and stiffness. If you can’t get them from fish, consider buying supplements instead.
3. Exercise at home
A healthy winter isn’t just about what you eat. It’s about how active you stay, too. That doesn’t mean you’ll have the willpower needed to head to the gym in the freezing cold, but home exercise solves that problem entirely. You don’t need much to do it, either – sometimes, your body in and of itself is enough to get the job done. Exercises such as jumping jacks, lunges, jogging in place, push-ups, crunches, and more can have you quickly working up a sweat (and plenty of calories) in the comforts of your home.
4. Treat your immune system well
Winter’s most frequent sickness is called the common cold for a reason. The season’s frigid temperatures make the body far more susceptible to becoming infected with the cold virus. With a diet full of vitamins C and D, you can reduce your chances of contracting not just the cold, but other illnesses too. These two vitamins bolster your immune system, helping your body to naturally fight pathogens during its weakest season. They can be found in many foods or taken as supplements.
How do you stay healthy during the winter? Sound off in the comments!