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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

15 Ways to Stay Healthy, Active, and Safe During the Winter

Photo by anjanettew (Flickr)

My girls and I typically play and stay active all year, but we recently experienced a huge winter storm that forced us to hibernate for several days. We ended up having so much fun together that I wasn't quite ready for life to return to normal! Our experience prompted me to research some ways that individuals, parents, and families can stay healthy, active, and safe during the winter, especially on lazy days when you end up stuck inside the house.

Get a Flu Shot

With this one immunization, you can cut your chances of getting the flu by 60 percent. Visit your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Wash Your Hands

When you get home from work or school, before eating, and after using the bathroom, wash your hands. Frequent handwashing decreases your chances of contracting respiratory and other illnesses.

Use Hand Sanitizer

Fight germs on the go with hand sanitizer. Buy hand sanitizer that's at least 60 percent alcohol or make your own DIY hand sanitizer like my girls do, and carry a bottle in your purse, briefcase, and car.

Clean the House

Get rid of germs in your home and get some extra exercise when you disinfect all of the surfaces, including electronic devices, doorknobs, and trash cans. Change linens and your toothbrush often, too.

Enjoy a Massage

Lower your stress level, boost your energy, and improve your immunity with a relaxing massage. If you're like me and don't want to leave the house, trade back rubs with your kids.

Take Zinc

If you come in contact with someone who has a cold, take zinc twice a day for a week. Zinc lozenges can combat cold germs, boost your metabolism, and help you stay healthy.

Experiment in the Kitchen

My girls told me last week that they're bored with our dinner menu. I encouraged them to find new recipes that contain veggies and spices to boost our immunity and protein and fiber that help us feel full longer. We're excited about experimenting in the kitchen as we try new foods and eat a balanced and healthy diet this winter.

Stay Hydrated

I enjoy a daily cup of hot tea in the winter, and I try to drink several glasses of water each day. Staying hydrated reduces toxins and helps our bodies function properly.

Move More

Moderate exercise boosts your immunity, so if you're stuck inside, get moving with an exercise video, your stationary bike, or an active video game.

Shovel Snow

After a snowstorm, bundle up and grab your shovels. You'll get a cardio workout as you clear your property.

Enter a Fitness Challenge

We signed up for a 5K in the spring, which will help us stay active, motivated, and committed to training this winter despite the cold weather.

Play Games

During our recent hibernation, we played board and card games together. We had a ton of fun, and I appreciate that playing games exercises our minds and encourages us to spend quality time together.

Let There Be Light

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and/or a lack of vitamin D might affect you or one of your family members, so do your best to get some sunlight in your day. Go outside for at least 10 minutes daily, or purchase a light box to improve your mood.

Go to Bed Early

Double your body's ability to fight the flu when you get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

Join a Club

Hibernating during a storm may be fun, but socialization improves your mood and boosts your immunity. Find a hobby group or club at your local library, YMCA, or school and cultivate new friendships.

This winter, you and your family can stay healthy, active, and safe in these 15 ways, even if you spend the majority of your time indoors. What other tips do you and your family recommend?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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