5 tips for winter health

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinter is here, get cosy, grab a warm beverage, and prepare yourself for some ancient wisdom that has been passed down through the centuries.

As the temperature drops the cold causes water to freeze, some animals hibernate, deciduous trees have dropped they’re leaves to conserve energy. The cold also slows metabolism and the effects of winter can even be seen at a DNA level.

To live a longer healthier life your habits should change with the seasons. Be mindful of the below suggestions and you will enjoy a healthier winter.

The philosophy of winter is conservation and storage.

 

Stay warm, especially your core

An Australian winter doesn’t compare to many other places in the world but you still need to cover up.  I often see people post exercise, sweating in just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. This is how a small muscle strain can turn into a larger muscle ache. Your skin should be covered up to protect it from the cold and wind.

The most vulnerable areas of your body for the cold and wind is the neck. If you often catch colds, suffer from asthma or hay fever this especially important. Wear a scarf to cover your neck.

You should be comfortably snug at all times, especially your core. Put on your jackets, beanies, gloves, and thermals if you need to. Make sure your lower back and belly are covered up, and don’t spend too much time in front of heaters as this can dry your skin.

Avoid big temperature changes

Don’t turn your heaters up full blast. Your body has a variety of mechanisms to acclimatise to the colder temperatures. By staying inside all day with your heaters up high you are denying yourself this natural defence to the cold.

Reduce Exercise Intensity

During winter you body will naturally gain a bit of weight but winter is not the time to prepare your summer body. Exercise is necessary but excessive exercise in winter can be draining.

As a rule of thumb – Activities that bring about sweating or breathlessness are not recommended in winter.

I like this rule because stamina, strength, and fitness differ from person to person. An elite athlete can push their body further than the average person without sweating or breathlessness. In general, don’t push yourself as hard as you would in summer and practise less strenuous activities.  

Meditate

As your energy retreats within, winter is an ideal time for mediation. Breathing exercises, qigong, meditation will strengthen your spirit, circulate your energy without effort, and refine your essence.

Eat hearty warm foods

One of my favourite things about winter is food. Its is a great time for those hearty stews, bone marrow soups, hot pots, porridges, and mulled wine.

  • Food should be cooked and served warm.
  • Avoid raw food and cold drinks.
  • Eat more hearty meats and root vegetables.
  • Flavour your food with a little salt.
  • Cook with herbs to help circulation and digestion.
    • Ginger, turmeric, pepper, etc
  • Decrease your consumption of excessively sweet foods and dairy.
  • Do not drink to excess 

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 6.10.46 pmCommon Winter Conditions

As cold temperatures cause things to contract, in the clinic, we see a lot of fatigue, lower back pain, and muscular aches and pains. It is also the season in which the incidence of cardiovascular diseases peak.

For personalised health advice to stay healthy and warm throughout the winter months contact The Acupuncture Clinic.