Well, it is finally here, the cold winter weather!
Yes, winter, also referred to as “cold and flu season.” So take some time each day to focus on you, your overall health, wellness and boosting your immune system.
The top five ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season are: Great nutrition – good clean eats support our digestive tract and support our immune system; vitamins and immune supporting supplements – your primary care provider can help you with finding the ones that are best for you; optimum water consumption – even though you may feel less thirsty during the cold months, it’s a dry season for our bodies; a full night’s sleep – possibly the simplest component of overall immune benefits; and exercising regularly – the most effective fitness routine is a consistent routine. That’s where many people fall short, the consistency throughout the entire year.
Let’s talk about a few ways to add fun and fitness to our lives during this cold, dark season.
As a working mom of three, I know the importance of prioritizing my own personal needs. It’s hard, but you are a priority. Fitting in regular exercise sometimes takes creative planning. Here’s a few ideas that add fun and fitness in a creative way.
1) “Go out & Play” – get out and try some winter activities. Downhill skiing is very popular in N.H. But snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are great alternatives and fun for all ages. If you have kids, then you can have endless fun in the outdoors this time of year at little to not cost. Skating, sledding and building a snowman are all fun activities with great cardiovascular benefits.
2) “Why Wait Until Spring” Cleaning – doing household chores can be seen as monotonous or as a way to get moving and increase your heart rate. During the warm weather we want to be outside and enjoy the sun and warm air, so why clean in spring? Take full advantage of being inside more on shorter days during this time of year. “Kick” up your cleaning routine by putting on some of your favorite music and time yourself to get through each task. Or add something active to each chore. Front load washer/dryer, a few squats perhaps? Multi-level house, make extra trips to do some short stair runs. When putting away groceries, use the opportunity for some weight training. A gallon of milk is eight pounds, try some bicep curls!
3) “Me time” – called gym time by many, but change your mindset and make it about you. Do you love books? Try a stationary bike while listening to an audiobook or podcast. Motivated by music? Put together a playlist with upbeat music and get on the treadmill. Need some stress relief? Try yoga or pilates for its core benefits and restorative properties. Really enjoy the solo part of exercise? Hit the weight room and focus on the power and strength of your own body through weight training. More of a social interest? Group exercise classes of all types provide the fun, education and fitness in one hour.
How ever you choose to get moving, make it a priority and schedule it in. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking it must be done all in one hour. Instead use some of these ideas to build it into your daily work routine with smaller increments of time. Maybe 15 minutes of vigorous housecleaning when you wake up. A walk around the parking lot or some stairs for 15 minutes during your lunch. After work, a stop at the gym for a 30-minute workout. Then finish off your day with 15 minutes of yoga or stretching. The same train of thought works for moms, too. I know how the day feels, wake up early, blink and it’s time for bed! Set an alarm to go off a few times per day to remind you to take a few minutes to exercise. Put your exercise ideas on your to do list or schedule in your calendar for the day. Have young kids at home? They can be your best workout buddies! Babies and toddlers love the movement and interaction of push-ups, sit ups, squats, anything you can do with them in tow.
Trieste Philbrook works as the wellness coordinator at the Concord Family YMCA. The YMCA is a contributing member of the Capital Area Wellness Coalition (CAWC), which coordinates community resources and builds partnerships to create a culture of healthy living for everyone. The CAWC meets monthly on the second Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St. in Concord. Visit capwellness.org to learn more.