With the holiday season behind us, the joy and excitement are forgotten and all that we are left with is the striking cold weather and lots of snow. Watching the weather channel from our cozy chairs gives you the chills and unfortunately we still need to endure this weather for a couple more months. These low temperatures and weather conditions are affecting our body and health more than we think.
Here are some of the things all of us should consider in the days ahead:
Winter Vitamin D Deficiency And Its Effects On Our Health
This is part of the year is when we are lucky to see the sun once within the week. As winter progresses, sunny days turn into just a few sunny hours a week. When there is no sun, there is no Vitamin D for us to absorb naturally. That is why it’s often called “the sunshine vitamin”. Why is this important for our health? Well, our bones are very grateful for this vitamin because without vitamin D, we wouldn’t absorb calcium and phosphorus that are essential for normal function and the health of our bones, nails, hair and teeth.
Winter is the time of the year when we have to seek other sources of vitamin D from food such as fish, milk products, cereal and orange juice. You can also start taking artificial vitamin D supplements. Either way, we have to make up the deficiency of this vitamin in order to prevent having soft and fragile bones, a weakened immune system and possibly symptoms of depression. Check out this article that discusses in depth the benefits of vitamin D.
Our Bones Are In Greater Risk In Wintertime
With everything above said, you can see why this is the part of the year where are bones are in greater danger of being fragile than during the warmer months. First of all, streets are covered with snow and ice and we can easily fall just by walking from the parking to our work or home. Even if we are young and healthy, if we are suffering from vitamin D deficiency chances of suffering from more severe injury are higher.
In order to prevent this, read the first paragraph again and remind yourself why your bones need vitamin D. Make them stronger. Help yourself with dressing properly in layers and thicker coats that can soften the fall. Shoes are even more important, choose the ones with heavily textured soles that can grip surfaces. Don’t be ashamed to use a stick or grab a handrail whenever you can. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Our Activities Are Drawn To A Minimum
When temperature goes way below the zero point nobody cares about exercise and we don’t just mean hard work-out, we mean daily activities that we all do during warm months. We stop running outside, we don’t take our bike to work, those lovely evening walks in the fresh air are long forgotten and we go out only to throw out the trash or to take our dog to a super quick walk. If you are very active from spring to fall and you stop doing all your activities in the winter your muscles and bones will feel that. They will be weaker, you will lose your balance easier when walking on slippery terrain and if you start falling, your body won’t have the strength to prevent it. This is why we have to keep being as active as much as possible.
If you like running, you should join a gym and hop on that treadmill this winter. Use long winter afternoons to try some of the many group training you never had time to. If you really don’t want to go outside, well just do it from home. YouTube is full of workout videos that you can do inside. The point is that you need to keep your body working. This will also prevent that holiday weight many of us gain each year.
Weak Immune System
We don’t weaken your immune system overnight. Everything above mentioned is affecting our body day by day and our defense mechanisms can’t hold on forever. We don’t get enough vitamin D, we are not being active enough, our holiday diet is not the healthiest one, we are exposed to sudden changes of temperatures (inside vs. outside) and we spend much time indoors where viruses can spread easily (stores, malls, restaurants, public transportation).
We have to help our body by trying to lead a healthy life through the year, even in these coldest months. Eat healthy food full of important vitamins and minerals, be active, exercise, drink lots of fluids (tea or fresh lemonade and orange juice) dress warm and in layers. In addition, we can protect ourselves by using hand sanitizes and washing our hands more often, especially after spending time in public places. If you are sick, try to avoid going out and cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing.