Winter Wellness Series Part 1
No matter where you live, the winter months have an impact on your lifestyle. When I lived in Southwest Florida the weather was always warm, but in the wintertime the days were much too short! It seemed like the sun went down about an hour after it rose, and limited my time outdoors. Of course, the days weren’t really that short, but I always felt like my time outside was limited by the lack of light.
Flash forward to my move back to the Midwest, and the cold, windy, snowy weather accompanies those very short days. All the more reason for putting these winter wellness tips into practice!
The care we give our body, mind, and spirit needs to be consistent and caring, no matter what’s happening outside our window. Let’s take a look at ten ways we can provide that care when it’s cold outside. I have a free resource printable for you, too, to help you remember these essential winter self care tips. More info on that at the bottom of the post!
This is the first in a 4-part series on Winter Wellness for Women over 50.
10 Winter Wellness Tips
1 | Keep moving
As the weather cools down and then turns downright cold in some climates, it can become more difficult to head outside for exercise.
As women over 50 (and over 60, like me), we know that exercise, both aerobic and strength training, is an essential component to keeping fit, strong, and healthy.
So when it becomes necessary to workout at home and the gym isn’t an option, just get out your ‘thinking and planning’ caps, and plan ahead for what you’ll do to get the exercise in each day.
As long as your health allows, you just can’t go wrong with walking, and that can be done anywhere, including inside your home. Yes, you might walk in a small area, walk in circles, or march in place. But you know what? It works.
Do a little online research and you’ll find many, many free and paid workout plans for women in your age group, whether it’s your 40s, 50s, 60s, or beyond.
Unless you’re restricted by your health and/or mobility, there really isn’t a reason to slow down or stop your workouts during the winter months. Always check in with your health care professional if you’re uncertain about your ability to engage in physical exercise.
Revive Your Mind, Nourish Your Body, Refresh Your Spirit…FRESH START CHALLENGE
2 | Remember your daily veggies
It’s always important to remember our veggies, but particularly in the colder weather months. This next winter wellness tip is all about green and orange vegetables like squash, oranges, carrots, kale, spinach, and swiss chard.
And of course, we don’t want our winter nutrition to be boring and repetitive, so it helps to prepare our healthy food in a variety of ways.
Our friends at fruitsandveggies.org (gotta love that name!) help us out with these top 10 healthy ways to cook fruits and vegetables. There are some great combinations as well as prep suggestions, so you might want to bookmark the post for future reference.
3 | Hydrate!
You might consider hydration more during the warm months of the year, but vigilance with staying hydrated is just as important when it’s cold outside. The air we breathe outside is drier, so our lungs have to work harder to warm it up and humidify it.
If you’re going to exercise outdoors, or just be outside for any length of time (a brisk winter walk on a sunny day could be amazing), remember to hydrate.
Here are a few tips:
- Wear layers to absorb perspiration. Sweat can reduce our body temp and make our heart work harder to maintain blood flow.
- If your exercise is for one hour or less, hydrate with water. After an hour, add electrolytes and carbs.
- Hydrate with room temperature liquids; they’re better at keeping your internal temperature optimal.
4 | Omega 3 fatty acids
Our winter wellness tips wouldn’t be complete without our friends, omega 3 fatty acids. Why is that, you ask?
They’re great for helping to reduce joint pain and stiffness as they’re a natural anti-inflammatory. And, they can help lower levels of depression, which sometimes occurs during the shorter days of winter (no matter the climate!)
You’ll find omega 3 fatty acids in nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, in fish and other seafood such as tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel, and sardines, in plant oils such as flaxseed, canola, and soybean oil.
Some fortified foods also contain the friendly omega 3’s..certain brands of eggs, yogurt, milk, and juice.
5 | Vitamin D please
Our time outside can become greatly limited in colder weather (unless you’re an outdoor sports enthusiast or cold weather lover!) but if you can, spend a few minutes getting a natural dose of sun.
Not only does it give your body a shot of vitamin D, sunlight boosts the release of serotonin, which can help boost our mood. That can be particularly helpful on those short, chilly winter days.
If stepping outside isn’t an option, be sure to include some of these vitamin D sources in your diet:
- canned tuna
- sardines and herring
- egg yolks
- fortified foods such as cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice
6 | Relish the routine
There is something to be said for a daily routine, and it can really help keep you motivated, encouraged, and healthy during the cold winter months.
Whether it is a morning routine, a workout routine, social engagement time, date night, reading goals, or more…just keep yourself on a positive track with forward movement…one step at a time, one day at a time.
7 | Watch for carb overload
Think about a time when you spent a lot of time indoors. Yes, I know. 2020 will always be remembered for physical distancing and staying at home.
The cold winter season brings us some of those same restrictions, and it’s oh-so-easy to get into the habit of eating extra carbs…that comfort food we love.
When we eat these types of foods our serotonin levels rise, tricking our brain into thinking we’re happier. And we probably are, for a minute or two. But you know what happens when the comfort food works its way into our daily eating habits, particularly as women over 50. Yep, right to the middle where the belly fat is already making itself right at home.
Here’s what you can do to help keep that under control. Eat a breakfast that is packed with protein, and that will help energize you as well as keep you feeling fuller.
If you still want the treats and sweets, make sure you have healthier snacks on hand, and not just the homemade cookies.
8 | Indoor air quality counts
We spend more time indoors during the colder months, and the quality of the indoor air can be lower than the air outside. Here are a few simple things you can do to help keep the indoor air quality higher:
- Vacuum twice a week and clean the filter regularly
- Wash sheets each week
- Keep a clean home.
- Replace air filters each month.
- Make a point to spend time outside if you can
9 | Stay engaged socially
When the days are short and the weather is cold, we can feel like curling up on the sofa with a good book and never looking up until the weather breaks. But of course, that wouldn’t be wise, would it? Remember the mantra, ‘everything in moderation’, and apply it to your activities.
Stay in touch with family and friends, whether it’s via social media, face time, phone, text, or email. Just keep the communication lines open and the in-person visits on the schedule when you can.
10 | Care for your skin
Of course, our skin can pay the price for the cold, dry weather, and as woman over 50 we need to be vigilant in how we care for it.
Here are a few quick tips: use warm, not hot water when washing your face and body, then gently blot your skin dry and use a moisturizer daily. Oh, and here comes the reminder to hydrate again…drink plenty of water!
We’ll cover much more about skin care in the winter months in the next post in this Winter Wellness series. See you there!
Free resource printable, Winter Wellness Tips
Here’s a handy tool for you to help you remember these essential winter self care suggestions. It’s free, and is in the Resource Library. You’ll find it in the Healthy Living and Wellness section, and can gain access right here:
Resources referenced in the creation of this post: