How to Stay Healthy in Cold Weather
Rod Acosta, MD, Interim Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs, and Chief Medical Officer. President & Chief Executive Officer, Stamford Health Medical Group
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Fall comes with a bounty of celebrations: staying warm and cozy, cooking up comforting recipes, Thanksgiving and the holiday spirit in the air. The other side of fall, however, isn’t so enjoyable: the flu, bearing the cold, and everything to think of in preparation for the winter and year ahead. Here are five simple winter health tips I hope will help you stay well and healthy during this seasonal shift.
1. Get a flu shot.
Influenza is a serious illness, so it’s important to do your part to protect yourself and your family. In case you had believed this to be true, the flu vaccine does not cause the flu. Here are many reasons why you should seriously consider getting a flu shot if you haven’t already. Remember, the influenza vaccine lasts all flu season long: October to May.
2. Be creative with your winter exercise routine.
We know winter sports aren’t for everyone. That’s okay. You don’t have to spend a day on the ski slopes to get a decent workout in. Not a fan of the gym? That’s okay, too. You can simply set a spot in front of your TV and move to your favorite exercise videos on YouTube or practice your favorite yoga poses with a calming soundtrack in the background.
3. Pay attention to winter indoor air quality.
This goes for home and work. With the windows shut to block the cold, that means less ventilation. You may want to consider adding a high-quality air purifier with replacement filters to your holiday wish list to help stop the spread of germs. If you’re sensitive to drier, winter air, look into a humidifier. If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the right air purifier or humidifier, ask a home energy expert at your local appliance store for a recommendation.
4. How to stay hydrated in winter:
I know—the cold months often don’t bring about much thirst, so sometimes we may not think to make frequent trips to the water cooler or drink between meals. However, please don’t dismiss the benefits of hydration despite the cold. It’s perfectly fine to be creative with your water consumption: add chunks of fresh fruit or an herbal tea bag to your glass of water for a flavor spike.
5. Give yourself the gift of mindfulness.
Life is busy, and we oftentimes get caught up in day-to-day stress and “information burnout.” That’s why getting in touch with your spiritual side has proven physical and mental health benefits. Bottom line: it’s important to make time for the things that matter to you, however large or small they may seem. Start with a commitment of just three minutes a day to either meditate (guided apps are great!) or reflect upon the questions: “What drained my energy today?” and on the contrary, “What fed my spirit?” Though it may not seem like much at first, committing to this short exercise once a day can make a difference in the long run.
So, as you fall into winter, remember to take care of yourself. No one can do that as well as you can!