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By Jarrod Beachum, PA-C

As we have all seen, the weather is finally starting to change from the hot sweaty summer to cool brisk fall and winter. For a polar bear like myself, winter is a very welcome season. For most other people, it can be a bit much and put a damper on our spirits. Although it is the time of many different holidays and celebrations with friends and family, the seasonal change brings with it reduced daylight hours, lower ambient temperatures, anxiety over the holidays, and reduced motivation to get outside and exercise. Admit it, curling up on a couch under a Snuggie is often much more appealing than a morning run when it is 20°F outside.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your diet and exercise plan. Maintaining proper nutrition and physical activity will keep the immune nice and strong, preventing most cases of the cold and flu. My general advice is to fight cravings for sweets and carbs by increase lean protein intake, avoid large or heavily processed meals, increase intake of winter vegetables such as squash, kale, Swiss chard, and carrots. Experiment with different spices such as turmeric, onions, garlic, ginger, and cilantro, which may allow you to reduce salt intake. Resist the urge to use holiday meals as an excuse to break your established healthy eating habits.

To help get motivated to work out, we suggest planning your workouts ahead of time, making them just as much a part of your day as a work meeting or going to lunch. If you don’t feel like getting out in the cold every time, there are so many different ways of working out in the home with fitness DVDs, online videos, and even console-based methods like WiiFit. As with all exercise routines, make sure you get a proper warm-up, stretch, and cool-down to prevent injury.

If you have any more specific questions about staying healthy this winter, please come see me at 45 Urgent Care and we will be glad to help.

– Jarrod Beachum, PA-C