5 ways to stay healthy during the Ottawa winter
As I am writing this blog I am watching the sleet and snow of the first storm of the Ottawa winter 2106/17. Winter is often associated with a downturn in our health. All our aches and pains seem to be more evident and of course, we are more prone to colds and flu. But does it have to be to his way? Below are 5 ways you can stay healthy and vibrant despite the Ottawa winter:
Sleep don’t hibernate
When the freezing rain is sticking to our bedroom window the tendency is to turn over and hide back under our duvet. Research from the Form Clinic has shown that adequate sleep is essential for our health but too much shut-eye is equally as bad. Scientists have established the optimal amount of sleep for an adult is between seven and eight hours. More than that is too much.
Stay active, stay healthy
For many of my clients, their activity levels tend to drop off during the Ottawa winter months. Exercise, as we all know, is essential for a healthy body and mind. It can prevent you from adding those winter pounds as well as elevating your mood. When I ask my clients whether they do any regular exercise they tend to mention going to the gym. Personally, I hate gyms. For me, they are impersonal and unmotivating places. I like to do my exercise preferably in a group. I find groups more motivating and you get the added health benefit of connecting with other people. My favourites are hot yoga and soccer but there are many others.
Do not forget to drink water
The human body is composed of seventy percent water. It is vital for the optimal functioning of our physiology. So if we fail to drink or consume adequate amounts of water our body and mind are going to slow down. We will get fat and depressed. Making sure we drink enough water, for obvious reasons , is tricky during the winter. We also tend to lose just as much water through perspiration during the winter because of our heated environments. To help my clients remember to drink more water I recommend using water app on their smartphone. The app I use called Waterlogged alerts me every hour to drink a glass of water.
Manage the Winter stress
The shorter days and freezing temperatures add to our overall stress burden. Stress is probably the most common root cause of my client’s health concerns. Just like making sure we drink enough water being extra mindful of managing our stress is important to remaining healthy during the winter months. When your body experiences any type of stress it will release the hormone cortisol into the blood. Long term stress and production of cortisol can have detrimental effects on our health. Ensuring adequate exercise and sleep have been shown to lower cortisol. If you are open to taking supplements both Vitamin C and Fish oil help to lower cortisol.
Be with people
Humans are social animals and being so is vital for a healthy existence. With the advent of social media, we have become much insular and this can be easily amplified during the winter months. Making time to spend time with friends and family is important. If you don’t have many friends or family nearby then try joining a group. There are tonnes of meetup groups you can try in Ottawa. I suggest having a look on meetup.com.
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This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.