When the cold weather sets in and the novelty (if there is one) wears off, many people have concerns about their health.
And for good reason.
The colder temperatures – yes, in Australia – bring on the flu season, coughs and colds, dry skin, less exercise, often more calories and less social events, which can in some cases, have an impact on both physical and mental health.
We’ve called on our experts to help
As such, the team has come up with seven awesome ways to winter-proof your health this chilly season.
ONE: Get your flu vaccination
Getting a flu jab means you’re protected against this season’s flu strain, and yes, strains change over seasons so you’ll need one each year.
The flu season strikes in winter for a few reasons:
- Lower light meaning less vitamin D
- Weaker immune systems
- Less airflow in homes (with windows closed)
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Young children, people over the age of 65 and those with other certain health concerns are typically more susceptible to the flu.
Book your flu shot here.
Or, find out about the 2023 National Immunisation Program.
TWO: Take extra care of your skin
It’s common to find dry skin and rashes during winter which is due to colder air holding less moisture and the use of heaters in homes, cars and at work.
Add in less outdoor activities and exercise and no daylight savings and it gets worse.
Dryness of course means lack of moisture in your skin, no surprises there. Step up your moisturiser game, even with the use of sunscreen.
Sunscreen, even in winter, can be important and help prevent your skin from drying out when outdoors.
Hint: Some people wash their hands less in winter due to the soap drying out their skin even more so. This can lead to things much worse than dry hands.
Simply take a small tube of moisturiser with you or leave one in your bathroom and wash your hands frequently without them drying out.
THREE: Keep up with your exercise
Exercise in winter is a huge win:
- It keeps you warm
- It can act as a social event (walks, hikes, gym with friends)
- It keeps the winter kilos off
Many of us find ourselves on the couch right after work thanks to early sunsets and the idea of getting out and about in the cold and rain is pretty offputting.
This often leads to winter kilos and far less social events.
Take some time each week to do some exercise, it can make a big difference.
FOUR: Watch your diet
Colder temperatures often push us to select high-calorie foods, but beware of those extra calories, especially if you find yourself spending more time on the couch.
The old cliche of having to burn off those winter kilos in spring is only a few months away.
Try to add winter seasonal fruit and vegetables in your diet.
Grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and oranges are some examples, there are many more.
You’ll be glad you did as not only do healthy diets boost immune systems, but they also give more energy and typically come in at a lower cost than other options like eating out.
FIVE: Add tea to your day
Not only does a hot cuppa warm you up, but it also comes with multiple benefits. Cuppa tea that is.
For example, studies of people who drink tea regularly, their blood vessels were healthier and their risk of heart disease lower.
Certain teas may also have the ability to boost your immune system and fight off inflammation.
There’s also antioxidants in green tea, one of the healthiest options out there.
SIX: Try some spicier options
Did you know that adding some spice to your meals can be a great way to warm up?
It’s also a healthy option as many spices come from natural products, but not all so read the labels before buying them.
In general, hot, spicy foods can stimulate blood circulation and raise body temperature.
Just make sure you don’t have any allergies to any spices.
SEVEN: Know how your health stacks up with a check-up
If you haven’t seen your doctor in a while, it’s worth getting a check-up. Depending on your age, lifestyle and other factors, winter can affect people in different ways.
As such, it’s important to know where your current health stands. Medical professionals have an array of tests (physical ones, blood analysis and more) at their disposal.
Book an appointment with our team today.
Winter-proofing your health in summary
If you notice winters feeling harsher as you age with more pronounced and more frequent ailments, you’re not alone.
Take steps to add some of the tips above to your daily, or weekly, routine.
Even a few small changes can make a world of difference. For example, a Saturday morning walk and (healthy) spicy meal afterwards with a friend can be a real mood lifter.