As the holiday season rolls in, so does the cold.
The snow and freezing temperatures will be here before you know it. That means it's time to layer up your clothes and take extra precautions on the road. But winter weather isn't only going to impact your daily agenda - it can affect your overall health. Read on to find out how your wellness will be influenced this season and how you can take care of your body until springtime:
1. Your immune system is at risk
Think about all of the time you spend indoors closely surrounded by your friends and family. This increases your exposure to germs and chance of developing and spreading illness like the common cold and flu. To lessen your risk, wash your hands frequently, exercise regularly, eat a well-balanced diet and get an annual flu shot.
2. Your blood vessels narrow
According to Harvard Health Publications, your blood vessels narrow when your body is exposed to cold temperatures. This increases your chance of experiencing a heart attack. Combat the cold by wearing layers, gloves and a hat when you head outdoors. If you're heading outside to shovel snow, be mindful and take breaks every once in a while. The hard labor is a trigger for heart attacks.
3. Your skin becomes irritated
Have you ever noticed the difference in the texture of your skin during the winter? It's irritated because there's less moisture in the air when the temperature is cool, which makes your complexion more likely to dry out.
"Strong winds will dry and irritate the skin and potentially damage the skin's protective lipid barrier," Tsippora Shainhouse, M.D. shared with Women's Health magazine.
To keep it from drying out, try exfoliating twice a week. Otherwise, use a gentle cleanser.
4. Your risk of falling increases
Because the sidewalks are going to get slippery from ice and snow, you're more likely to lose your balance and fall. Prepare for slick surfaces by wearing heavy traction boots and hold on to railings whenever possible.
5. Your muscles and joint stiffen
Cold temperatures reduce the body's elasticity, according to Health Central. This makes it more difficult to stretch, and it also changes your joint fluid thickness. To reduce your chance of experiencing stiffness, exercise regularly throughout the wintertime. Don't forget to begin and end each workout with a warm up and cool down consisting mostly of stretching.
6. Your mood may be impacted
You've heard the term "winter blues" before, but have you considered the truth in the statement? It's not just a silly phrase - seasonal affective disorder is real. According to Medline Plus, SAD is defined as depression that occurs in the winter months when the sun shines less. If you've noticed a shift in your mood, spend more time outdoors before the sun goes down. Or, simply keep your drapes open throughout the day to let the natural light in.
And don't forget to spend more time with your family and friends. It's holiday season, after all, and surrounding yourself with loved ones will have a positive impact on your overall well-being.
7. Your sleep patterns may change
Falling asleep isn't easy when you're not prepared for the freezing temperatures. And until you make adjustments to keep your space warm, you'll notice negative changes in your sleeping patterns. This can impact your mental, physical and emotional health. During the winter, keep extra blankets near your bed in case you get cold throughout the night.
By making smarter day-to-day lifestyle decisions, you can reduce your chance of being negatively impacted by cold weather this winter.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living