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Staying Healthy This Winter
Physical stresses are stresses on your muscles, bones and joints. Lifting stuff, shifting stuff, it can be hard on your body, so handle the physical stresses by developing better body mechanics with stretching, exercising, walking, yoga and of course visiting your chiropractor.
Chemical stresses are stresses on your metabolism. Eating badly, inhaling toxic fumes like cleaning products or hair spray, or overdoing the sugar and alcohol are just a few common problems. Handle your chemical stresses by avoiding breathing toxic stuff, moderating your sugar and alcohol intake, and making better decisions on food and nutrition.
Emotional stresses are stresses on your mind. Worrying, conflicts in relationships or at work, personal or family health issues or financial concerns may contribute to emotional stress. Handle your emotional stresses with relaxation, meditation, breathing, martial arts, or massage.
Take care of yourself and your family during the holidays – a few simple lifestyle choices can help you cope with this happy but strenuous season.
Seven Winter Health Tips
Before too long the temperature will be edging downward, and smart families will prepare for the health challenges that may accompany the winter months. Some of these pointers apply more to areas with harsh weather conditions, but anyone can benefit from these seven winter health and wellness tips.
1. Eat plenty of fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables. Filled with vitamins and minerals, they’ll boost your immune system to keep you healthy when it’s cold outside. Include “super-foods” like blueberries (high in anti-oxidants that protect your cells), garlic (great for stimulating your immune system to shield you from illness) or sprouts (help you detoxify). And remember to drink plenty of water, because cold temperatures tend to dehydrate us.
2. Get enough sleep. Most adults need seven or eight hours of sleep each night, children at least another hour or two. Your body works hard throughout the day, so you must give it a chance to refresh and rejuvenate. Also, your brain cleanses itself while you sleep, which can take several hours or more of uninterrupted slumber. Getting sufficient sleep is critically important for good health year-round.
3. Specialized nutritional supplements can fortify you and your family during the cold season. Vitamin C has a long history of avoiding and improving colds, as does Echinacea and golden seal. Spirulina and astaxanthin are powerful anti-oxidants, like a tonic for your cells. Any health food store can help you find supplements, or you can get them through your doctor of chiropractic.
4. Exercise. Getting your blood moving and your muscles limbered up distributes heat in your body and keeps you functioning effectively. Walk, stretch, shovel snow, go skating or skiing, or develop a yoga or Pilates practice. You can exercise inside your home or at the gym, or you can brave the elements and exercise outside, but do whatever it takes to keep your body fit over the winter months.
5. Dress in layers. You want to be warm enough when you’re outside, but be able to adjust your clothing when you come inside. T-shirt, top shirt, sweater or sweat-shirt and a jacket or coat over that gives you the flexibility to dress appropriately even if you go between inside and outside. Handling temperature change regulates your body temperature, which helps you to be healthier.
6. Have daily quiet time. Meditation, prayer or contemplation soothes your mind, body and spirit. Taking a few minutes in the morning, evening or both can reward you with a stronger constitution overall, and a quicker healing and recovery time. Wintertime stresses can really get us stuck, so claiming a little down time is an investment that will reward you many times over.
7. Visit your chiropractor. Keeping your brain, spine and nerve system working at their best can set the stage for a healthier winter. Hunching your shoulders against the icy wind tightens your muscles and may injure your neck. Excessive snow shoveling can over-stress your lower back, your shoulders or your knees. Let your doctor of chiropractic get you back into alignment, so your body heals and runs better.
As is often the case, a few simple lifestyle decisions can make a world of difference in your quality of life during the winter months. There are no guarantees, but those of us who develop good health habits experience an ongoing sense of wellness, not only in the winter but all the time.
Take good care of yourself and your family this winter – you’ll suffer less, save time and money, and have a better quality of life, too.