With the weather turning cold and the holidays fastly approaching; your workout routine and healthy eating choices may be the first things that you drop in order to make time for those holiday parties, family gatherings, Christmas shopping, and gift wrapping. Our exercise routine AND what we eat is very important, however we tend to put these two things at the bottom of our “to do list”. What we eat can directly affect how efficiently our immune system works. While it is ok to indulge on special occasions; it is equally important that we stay on track with our healthy eating lifestyle the rest of the time. We are going to talk about some ways to help “keep us on track” throughout the winter.
- Plan it Out
On Sunday, sit down and plan out your workout routine for the week. Write down which days you plan to workout AND the length of each workout. By writing the specifics down it then becomes part of your schedule. Scheduling workouts with a friend or spouse also helps to keep you motivated and makes it easier to stick with your plan.
- Change it Up
Winter is a perfect time to change up your workout routine. You can workout at home with DVD’s or find exercise routines on the internet. Local community centers and even some hospitals offer a wide variety of indoor classes at a reasonable price.
*If you choose to use online workout videos be cautious with the type/intensity and do not push into any pain. *
- Get those Omega 3’s
Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats and are great for helping to reduce joint pain and stiffness as they are a natural anti-inflammatory. Sources of Omega 3 fatty acids include: fish, plant seeds, and nuts. Studies have also shown they have been helpful with lowering levels of depression which people commonly feel in the winter months.
- Mushrooms Please
Mushrooms can help fight off many types of illnesses due to the naturally-occuring antibiotics. Stock up on a variety of different mushrooms and add them to your dishes at home to help boost your immune system.
- Spice it Up
Cooking with spices such as onions, ginger, cilantro, and garlic have all been shown to improve immune function. Turmeric is a spice that is traditionally used in Chinese and Indian medicine. Its active ingredient is curcumin which helps to fight against inflammation and heart disease and also acts as an antioxidant.
- Don’t Forget the Fiber
Another way to reduce inflammation and to give your immune system and extra boost is to add in some soluble fiber. Apples, oats, and nuts are great sources of soluble fiber. Another bonus of soluble fiber is that it can reduce cholesterol levels and helps to aid the body in weight loss.
Let’s make staying healthy and fit our goal this winter!
*Information adapted from UPMC Pinnacle*