It is natural to feel lazy in the winter months. The plummeting temperature makes many want to stay under the blanket for longer hours, skipping their workout sessions. But, in the cold months, there are a few things to worry about from the point of view of health. Showing signs of laziness can only aggravate health issues.
According to Dr Sandeep Patil, chief intensivist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, cold temperatures that keep people indoors can stop them from exercising, making them more susceptible to illnesses. “Being indoors more leads to sedentary habits and this may cause fluctuation in cholesterol levels causing ailments like diabetes, heart disease and more. Moreover, winter months can also lead to overeating,” he says.
The doctor suggests a few things to stay fit and healthy despite the cold weather; read on.
1. Exercise: Physical activity is an important aspect to keep one fit. Daily yoga or any form of activity will help keep you warm and boost the immune system, improving defense against seasonal ailments like flu and cold. If you have certain conditions like asthma, heart problems or Raynaud’s disease, check with your doctor first to review any special precautions or medications.
2. Healthy diet: Eat whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices as well as plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost immunity. Have foods rich in vitamin C, as it helps to strengthen the immune system and keep your body fit. Resist consuming high-calorie winter delights.
3. Manage stress: Whenever you feel stressed, take a break and do something that gets your mind off it. This gives your stress response system a chance to rest.
4. Regular health checkups: In winters, people prefer to stay indoors in close contact with other people, thus facilitating the speedy and easy transmission of diseases. Moreover, the foggy climate and less sunlight helps in bacterial growth. Thus, health checkups are important as preventive steps.
5. Monitor your vitals: It is essential to keep a note of one’s blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar level. Consult a doctor in case major fluctuations are recorded.
6. No smoking: Smoking and alcohol consumption in excess should be avoided. Alcohol has a toxic effect on the heart muscles. It can lead to atrial fibrillation — an abnormal heart rhythm. Smoking can aggravate heart problems, respiratory ailments and cause high blood pressure.
7. Sleeping enough: Getting sleep is crucial because it helps regenerate the body while stabilising energy and appetite levels the next day. According to data released by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), it’s recommended that an individual sleeps at least 7 – 8 hours daily. If someone suffers from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder, they should get checked immediately as it is linked to heart diseases.
8. Dress according to the weather: People should avoid heading out half-dressed. It’s vital they cover up by wearing layers of clothing, especially a coat, hats, gloves and heavy socks to avoid hypothermia (low body temperature). Since a lot of heat gets lost from the head, it’s also recommended to wear a scarf and/or a hat.
9. Avoid the outdoors: One should try and avoid staying outside for prolonged periods. Staying indoors will help regulate body temperature.
10. Wash hands frequently: Respiratory infections can increase the chances of heart attack. One should avoid it by washing hands regularly with soap and water. Additionally, if any flu symptoms are seen, like fever, a viral cough, or body aches, a doctor should be consulted for a flu shot or antiviral medication.