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Staying Healthy This Winter

Staying Healthy This Winter

The winter months can be a challenge if you just can’t stay healthy. Staying indoors and being near people can allow for the spread of unwanted germs. This can increase your chances of catching a variety of illnesses including flu, colds, or even the dreaded Covid-19 and its variations. Following just a few important steps can help keep you and your family healthy so nobody misses out on the fun the season can bring. 

Just by washing your hands frequently you can protect yourself and prevent the spread of various illnesses. Regularly wiping down surfaces with a sanitizing cleanser and keeping your distance from those you know are sick also helps. Additional tips include staying hydrated and flushing toxins out of your system, getting enough sleep to keep your immune system in good shape and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid catching anything that might be going around.

Make Good Choices

Don’t fall into the “comfort food” trap of eating for comfort all the time and foregoing proper nutrition. Indulging occasionally is not a problem but getting into a spiral of unhealthy eating can only lead to bad choices and health consequences. Make sure you enjoy a diet of winter’s best vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains. Keep an eye on portion size as well. 

Active in Mind & Body

Shorter days and cold temperatures can make it hard to get moving. The temptation to stay in and stay warm is strong! Make sure you engage in regular physical activity and keep an eye on your mental health as well. It’s important to engage in regular physical activity to reduce anxiety, lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep quality, and maintain or lose weight, depending on your goals. Regular exercise also helps keep your mental health in check. Incorporating regular breathing exercises and meditation is also a great idea.

 

Winter months can be difficult for some but having a plan to keep your body moving and your mind strong is a great way to thrive this winter and set yourself up for a fabulous Spring! 

 

Seven Healthy Fall Habits

Seven Healthy Fall Habits

Fall is a great time to reset after a busy summer season. If you established some healthy habits this summer, you definitely want to keep them going to keep your immunity strong as the season changes. 

Habit 1: Make sure you moisturize to keep your skin healthy as the weather gets colder and dryer. If you aren’t careful, your skin can crack and chafe which can lead to infection if not treated properly and early on. Anytime after a shower and throughout the day, make sure you use a moisturizing lotion to keep your skin healthy and glowing.

Habit 2: As we head into the holiday season, focus on your financial wellness so you can maintain financial stability and keep your spending habits under control. It could be as simple as a quick check of your accounts but if you are unsure of your financial health, seek out a financial planner or advisor. There are also free tools online that can help you set up a budget and track your spending and your savings.

Habit 3: It’s easy to fall into a trap of gravitating to only those rich and sometimes unhealthy comfort foods as the weather gets cooler. Make sure you are consuming healthy food by taking advantage of all the fall produce available. 

Habit 4: Self-care is a must! Make yourself a priority so you can stay refreshed and ready to give your best to your friends and family. This looks different for everyone so give yourself the space to find what works for you. It could be an evening or morning walk, journaling, or having time to read or enjoy another hobby. Whatever it is, carve out the time to do it.

Habit 5: The lack of sunshine that can come in cooler climates can make our Vitamin D levels plummet. Consider adding a supplement to your diet if you find yourself running low. Talk to your health care provider about ways to incorporate more Vitamin D into your diet. 

Habit 6: The cooler temperatures that come with fall can open up a wide variety of activities that you just couldn’t fully enjoy during the hot and steamy summer months. Hiking, apple picking, biking, or even just yard work can all get you outside and get your heart rate up. Stay active to boost not just your physical but your mental health as well! 

Habit 7: Another great way to get yourself on track heading into the fall is to get those health appointments scheduled. Make sure you get that eye exam and those physicals scheduled so you can keep yourself on track heading to the holidays and you aren’t waiting until something is wrong or trying to squeeze in a visit during the busy holiday season. 

Start with one habit and then begin to incorporate the rest and you will feel better than ever this fall!

5 Ways to Stay Fit This Fall

5 Ways to Stay Fit This Fall

If you are on a fitness roll this summer, you don’t want to “fall” back into old habits (pardon the pun). As the weather gets colder, you might find it challenging to maintain the same fitness routine. Or maybe you took the summer off, and you are ready to kick off a fall campaign to get in shape. Whatever your goals or motivations, here are five tips to keep you on track.

You may be a morning workout person in the summer as you try to beat the heat, but you might need to rethink that as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter. Try an after-work workout to see how you adjust and which one feels better. Pay particular attention to what makes you feel more energized. If you are so tired after a morning workout that you find it difficult to make it through the day, then perhaps you should go for an evening routine. But make sure you can still fall asleep after an evening workout. Once you determine which time of day works best for you, stick to a routine to maintain your results.

Another great tip is to take advantage of the cooler temps to enjoy more outdoor activities like hiking, biking, walking, or running. Incorporate some weekend hikes or just an after dinner walk around the neighborhood a few nights a week. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, just get outside and move!

While you may find yourself motivated to get started or keep your fitness routine going, make sure you set realistic expectations. It’s about progress and not perfection. Setting your expectations too high can set you up for failure so give yourself some grace and know that some days, the weather may not cooperate. 

Another great way to keep motivated is to take advantage of all the great fall produce to help fuel your body as you set this new pattern of fitness routine. Nutrition is a key piece of the puzzle so load up on all the great fall fruits and veggies. 

Another key piece of advice is to keep some at-home workouts in your back pocket. The weather won’t always cooperate and sometimes you just won’t feel like going out early or making that after work workout a reality. Another way to set yourself up for success is to create a few living room exercise routines. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of workout apps and YouTube videos that can help you maintain your fitness goals while at home. 

Whatever you do, just make sure to keep moving! While it might be tempting to curl up under a warm blanket, Netflix and chill, make sure you are incorporating your fitness goals into your day so you can maintain the fitness wins you achieved this summer. 

Improve Your Mental Health with Regular Meditation

Improve Your Mental Health with Regular Meditation

Meditation has a reputation for several health benefits but what is it exactly? It is defined as the regular process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. There are some key reasons you might want to consider establishing a regular meditation routine. The overall improvement in your health and wellbeing just might surprise you. 

Research proves that meditation can really be a stress reducer. Too much stress in your life can cause sleep issues, depression, anxiety, and even high blood pressure. An 8-week study published in 2013 found that “mindfulness meditation” actually reduced the inflammatory response caused by too much stress.

As mentioned previously, as stress levels decrease, so does anxiety. A 2014 study examined the transcendental meditation technique and found that it reduced anxiety significantly. However, that’s not the only technique that reduces anxiety. Additional research has found that a variety of techniques can reduce anxiety levels. It doesn’t matter what technique you try, just get started! 

After the pandemic, we all know just how important it is to maintain our mental health. Regular meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression by decreasing the levels of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress. It can also help people experience fewer negative thoughts. 

Studies also show that regular meditation practices can lead to enhanced performance on visual tasks and a greater attention span than those who don’t regularly practice meditation. And you don’t need to set a goal of meditating for hours on end. Other studies have indicated that even short periods of meditation each day can be a benefit. 

And, in case you haven’t noticed yet, each of these benefits just continues to cascade to additional benefits! Now that you know that regular meditation can lead to improvements in attention and clarity, you might be happy to hear that both benefits lead to keeping your mind young and healthy overall. 

Studies have found that in addition to fighting the normal age-related memory loss that comes from getting older, meditation can at least partially improve memory in those suffering from dementia. It can also help to control stress and improve coping skills in caregivers.  

Even the Mayo Clinic touts the benefits of meditation. They also outline the different types including guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness meditation, Qi gong, tai chi, transcendental meditation, and yoga. They also advise that meditation takes practice, and you will get better at maintaining your focus and breathing the more you engage in the practice. 

The bottom line is that meditation is something that everyone can try to improve their mental and emotional health. You don’t have to have a particular level of athletic ability; it doesn’t require a special location or equipment and you don’t have to buy a membership at a gym to try it. A simple Google or YouTube search can get you started. Trying out a variety of styles to see what might work best for you is a great way to begin your meditation journey.

Staying Active and Healthy in the Warm Summer Months

After the cold winter and unpredictable Spring weather we’ve been having, everyone is ready for a warm summer with longer days filled with rest, vacation, and family time. However, the warmer temperatures can often bring unanticipated health risks like seasonal allergies, heat stroke, and bug bites. Read on for a few tips to keep you not only active, but healthy as you embrace those dog days of summer.

Staying Active and Healthy in the Warm Summer Months

Get Moving!

The summer months are a great time to get outside and get moving, especially if you live in a climate that doesn’t allow you to get out much during the winter and early spring months. That additional physical activity can lead to healthy hearts and maybe a trimmer waistline. As the temperatures heat up, it might be tempting to stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning but don’t fall for an all or nothing trap! If it gets too hot in your area, take a walk or an early morning bike ride before the heat is unbearable. If early mornings aren’t your thing, try a late evening stroll to get a little extra fitness in your day. 

If you are lucky enough to live near the ocean or close to national parks, then hiking and biking on those gorgeous trails should be on your summer to-do list. A jog along the beach or an ocean swim are also great options. And don’t forget, your body isn’t the only thing that will benefit from the increased physical activity, your mind with thank you as well. Exercise is a great way to boost your mental health and improve your sleep. 

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

While getting outdoors is great, it also comes with risks. Too much UV light from the sun can be hazardous to your health, contributing to skin damage and increased cancer risk. Too much UV exposure can lead the skin to lose elasticity, get deeper wrinkles, and contribute to an overall premature aging of the skin. 

To protect yourself, make sure you choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50. And make sure you reapply your sunscreen after swimming or sweating. Getting outside is great for your mental and physical health but not if you burn in the process! 

Stay Hydrated

In addition to sun protection, it’s important to make sure you are consuming plenty of fluids in the warmer temperatures. It might be tempting to indulge in those fruity alcoholic drinks, but they are not effective against dehydration, and neither is caffeine. They make it more difficult for the body to stay properly hydrated because they increase the body’s fluid output. Chronic dehydration can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure and shock. 

Signs you might be dehydrated include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Little or no urination

Saying healthy and active is definitely doable over the summer with just a little bit of planning and awareness. So, get outside and enjoy these long, warm days while you can! 

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