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    How To Support Your Health This Winter

    Written by Melissa Williams

    Winter in Canada can be a polarizing time. Some of us can't wait for the arrival of the snowy season to start our favourite wintertime activities, while some of us miserably dread the return of the cold. Whatever side of the spectrum you find yourself on, we can all agree that it's quite easy to feel fatigued during the cold, dark winter months. And, while our four to six months of winter are unavoidable, winter fatigue doesn't have to be!

    Here are some ideas to help you stay mentally and physically invigorated this winter.

    STAY ACTIVE

    It can be hard using what little energy you have to leave the warmth of your house and head to the gym, but the trade-off is so worth it! Spending energy by physically exerting yourself reduces stress hormones making you feel more energized.1 Maintaining your exercise routine is a proven way of keeping your summertime joy regardless of the weather. My favourite physical activity, especially in the colder seasons, is hot yoga. It's like a trip to a tropical island without the hassle and expense of actually travelling. You get to throw on a pair of shorts, quiet your thoughts, and spend an hour exerting energy at your own pace in a warm place. Also, all of the hot yoga studios I've been to are really laid back -- so, if I want to, I can just lay on my mat (pretending I'm on a sunny beach) whenever I'd like during class. Once the class is over, you'll probably be so warm that you can ditch at least one layer and feel invincible as you invite the crisp winter air to cool your warmed skin. 

    DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN

    Most people think of Vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin because it’s the only vitamin our bodies can make via the sun. But, getting it from the sun is just now enough. In the winter, Canada gets less access to sunshine since the days are shorter and the nights are long. That’s why, about 35% of Canadians are at risk of inadequate vitamin D.2 Vitamin D is an important vitamin that is important for biological functions which play a role in maintaining overall good health and it’s essential for maintaining bone health as well.3 Vitamin D also plays a role in immune function, which is so necessary during the winter months.  To support my children’s and even my overall health, bone health and immune function, I'll be supplementing my family's and my Vitamin D intake with Progressive’s Sunshine Burst Vitamin D.

    START A WINTER HOBBY

    All the people I know who really enjoy the snowy weather are, uncoincidentally, people who also partake in winter hobbies. My three year old cannot wait for the snow to fall because she's so excited to make snow angels and throw snowballs. While you'll be hard-pressed to find a group of adults having a snowball fight, there are tons of winter hobbies to keep you lively through the winter, from snowboarding and skiing to heading to your local rec centre for a weekly pick-up hockey game. Winter hobbies like these are great ways to help you stay active, but they also help you learn to appreciate all the positives that the cold weather has to offer. If you prefer to keep warm, your winter hobbies don't necessarily need to be physically strenuous or based outside. You can use the extra time indoors to learn how to bake, to become a better chef or even to host a knitting circle where you donate your creations. More than anything, hobbies help you to build community whether it's through helping others with your craft donations or making and building friendships by meeting regularly to skate around your neighbourhood park. These social connections are what we as humans need to remain positive and upbeat, especially during the months when it can be easier to isolate ourselves.

    EAT AND DRINK WELL

    With all the celebrations around Christmas and New Year's, it's really easy (and delicious!) to become overindulgent even when lots of sugary foods and alcohol make us quite lethargic. Though it may be cold and grey outside, keeping our plates as colourful as possible is still important to ensure we get as much energy as we can from a well-balanced diet even when we indulge in treats. Depending on where you are in the true north, those colourful foods may be more or less inaccessible, so Progressive's VegeGreensand PhytoBerry are great sources of fruits and vegetables that we need to stay healthy. Since our bodies have the tools it needs to keep our systems strong, we'll feel stronger, healthier and more full of life. Committing to supplementing your nutritional needs is also a great way of adding more water to your daily diet, which is something you need to continuously hydrate your system and transport all of those energy-giving nutrients throughout your bloodstream.

    Remember, it takes energy to make energy. So as hard as it may be when the weather outside is frightful, take the time and effort to stay active, stay social and take care of yourself from the inside out. It will make a world of difference in how you feel year-round.

     

     

    References:

    1. Exercising to relax - harvard health publishing. Harvard Health. (2020, July 7). Retrieved October 13, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax.
    2. Statistics Canada. Vitamin D levels of Canadians, 2012 to 2013..Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-625-x. Accessed March 17, 2021 at: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-625-x/2014001/article/14125-eng.htm
    3. Government of Canada. Product information. Accessed on Oct 13th, 2021 at ttps://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/info.do?licence=80025305