As we are approaching winter, it’s time to think about staying healthy, fit and safe during this season. With shorter days and colder weather, the winter season can be busy and exciting, with so many events like family dinners, holiday parties, and the preparation and planning for gift giving. All these events can be distractions preventing us from focusing on our health and taking care of ourselves as we would normally. Not taking care of your health and wellness can result in winter blues – laying the foundation for a weakened immune system, and posing a greater risk of developing illness or injury.
Winter Wellness: 7 Strategies for Staying Healthy and Safe
Take proper care of yourself, understand that your health is important throughout all stages of life and for that get precautions accordingly. Here are a few health and wellness tips for winter to help you stay in good health. These will also help you identify where your health falls short and what you can do to boost it during this time of the year.
- Maintain indoor air quality: One of the challenging things during winter is to maintain indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality will result in air pollutants and allergens which can have a negative effect on your health. When the temperature drops, many people stay indoors, making air quality an important concern. Here are some tips to improve your indoor air quality before or during the winter season:
- Clean and dust your home frequently and maintain good hygiene
- Clean air filters regularly and replace these filters each month
- Wash your sheets every week
- Make a point to spend time outside, if possible
- Use bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to help with indoor ventilation
- Inspect your home for moisture-related issues and fix the problems as soon as possible
- Don’t allow smoking in the home
- Proper diet and exercise plans: As people mostly spend their time indoors during winter, it’s possible that they eat a lesser variety of foods which might result in nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamin D. This could pose serious health problems. So eat healthy. For vitamin D, include milk and grains, and seafood options like tuna and salmon.
- Get your flu shot: There are high chances of getting flu during this season, so to prevent it, get your flu shot – which is the most effective way to prevent the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over six months old get the flu shot.
- Avoid driving: According to an article in healthinaging.org, adults 65 and older are involved in more car accidents per mile driven than those in nearly all other age groups. So, it would better if seniors can avoid driving in winter. It can be hazardous for anyone to drive in this season, but older adults face higher risks as their reflexes may not be as quick as they once were. If you really want to drive, take some precautions:
- Before the bad weather hits, winterize your car: check the tires, antifreeze, windshield wipers, etc., and change whatever’s necessary
- Always let someone know where you are going
- Don’t forget your cell phone
- Try to avoid driving on icy roads, and be especially careful while driving on overpasses or bridges. It’s better to take bigger roads as they are often cleared of snow.
- Install Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors: As you all know, the majority of house fires occur in the winter because colder temperatures result in longer operating time for heating equipment, which might cause the equipment to burn. So as a precaution and as an important safety measure, install and test your smoke detectors. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning also increases with the additional time indoors. So ensure you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector as well at every level of the home and outside of every sleeping area.
- Get a calm and soothing sleep: A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your health and immune system such as reducing stress and maintaining metabolism.
- Frequent hand washing: Wash your hands regularly. A good option is to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. If you’re using soap and water, rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
Similarly, stay on track with your fitness goals by including indoor workouts instead of going to a gym.
Start with these basic winter health tips to stay happy and positive throughout the season.