Fall is in the air, which means that the weather is cooling down and many people are bundling up for the upcoming snowy weather. While it feels cozy to snuggle up in front of the warm fire, don’t let the cold weather stop the progress that you’ve made with your health and wellness goals.
Once these patterns have been formed, the best solution is to maintain your momentum so that you can create lifelong habits. Follow these ten health tips to take care of your physical and mental health, even when it’s cold outside:
1. Embrace Winter Activities: If it’s going to be cold, you might as well embrace the fun activities that are available during this time of year! Find classes where you can learn how to ski or snowboard. For those who don’t have easy access to nearby resorts, consider ice skating at a local rink or snowshoeing on a nature trail.
2. Gym Membership: Even though you don’t consider yourself a “gym rat” that loves spending time on the treadmill, it can be helpful to use these facilities to get your blood pumping when it’s cold outside. Find a gym that is close to home so that you don’t have to drive far to access the location. Also, look for facilities that will make your experience more pleasant, such as a cardio theatre or machines that have personal TV’s.
3. Indoor Classes: There are plenty of indoor fitness classes that can be fun and fulfilling. Examples include Zumba, yoga, HIIT training, Crossfit, cycling, water aerobics, and more. Choose an activity that matches your personality, and you’ll likely have an opportunity to make friends who attend the same classes.
4. Invest in the Right Clothing: If the weather is mild enough to go on an outdoor run, be sure that you have the right winter gear to make it an enjoyable activity. Invest in exercise clothing designed to add insulation and protect against moisture loss at the same time.
5. Make it a Social Event: Find friends who enjoy outdoor, winter activities so that you can enjoy the weather with other like-minded people. Or, choose a gym where your friends have memberships. Not only will the group activities improve your physical fitness, but it can be helpful to have emotional support from your community to boost mental health as well.
6. Catch Up on Sleep: When the sun goes down earlier in the evening, it is a good time to allow your circadian rhythms to adjust with the seasonal changes. Let yourself go to bed a little earlier. Curl up with a good book in bed before turning out the lights to call it a night.
7. Light Therapy: Often, depression is a co-occurring condition that goes hand-in-hand with the development of addiction. If you have a hard time managing your mental health in the winter months, then you should be proactive with options such as light therapy. These solutions can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder and reduce the negative patterns that could feed into unhealthy behaviours.
8. Stay Hydrated: It’s easy to remember to drink water when you are spending a lot of time in the sun. But, you can face dehydration even if you aren’t sweating throughout the day. Most people don’t feel as thirsty in cold weather climates, making it easier to become dehydrated unknowingly. Create a habit of drinking plenty of water. Try drinking it warm with herbal tea if you don’t like the cold beverages in the winter months.
9. Monitor the Sugar: While we’re on the topic of warm drinks, be careful about the amount of sugar that is consumed from coffee shop drinks. A pumpkin spice latte might seem festive, but be aware that you are consuming as much as 50 grams of sugar in that drink. Use these fancy coffees as occasional treats instead of drinking them on a daily basis.
10. Plan a Beach Vacation: Knowing that you will be wearing a swimsuit on the beach in February can be good motivation to stay fit through the winter months. If you find that you often lose fitness motivation in the cold weather, then give yourself something to look forward to so that you can maintain the momentum.
These health and wellness tips are important for people of all ages and fitness levels, especially those working through recovery from drugs and alcohol. Maintaining the right diet and exercise goals can be an integral part of maintaining sobriety.