by Kimberly Wendschlag
Whew! It is crazy cold here in the Valley of the Grain! I’m pretty sure that fall lasted an entire 3.7 days, right? Isn’t that how it always goes? We are so over the heat and long for the cooler, sweatshirt wearing, windows open, leaves falling months and BAM, we get 3 days. Good gravy. Well, now that we have busted right into the winter weather (I’m going to call it that because at the time of writing, it is a balmy 8 degrees outside), it’s time to see how in the world we can stay healthy.
I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you ate all of the right things, went to the gym, drank all the water and are simply reading because you have all the time in the world. Right?
You have no fear of the flu bug hitting your home, attacking every living creature under your roof and shutting your entire home down for a week. Hmm….you with me? This isn’t you? Awesome, then let’s keep going.
Did I tell you that I went back to the gym? I did. I went a week ago last Monday. I was so excited to be back and I even got one of the fancy little key chain things to “check me in” next time. I went that day and I haven’t been back since. You guys, that’s not good! I was doing so well for so long and then….I just got lazy. Hold on a second and let me go back. I hurt my back in April and was out of commission for a bit. THEN I got lazy. That’s the truth. I’m telling you this because it matters. It not only matters for my health, but it matters for you too. I took one for the team.
Did you know that during the warmer months it is quite common for our LDL (bad) cholesterol to be in normal/closer to normal range than it is during the winter? Now please don’t think that it is the temperature that is the relation. My husband knows that there are nights with snow on the ground that I must have a bedroom window cracked! It’s not the COLD that effects the cholesterol, it’s our habits and choices when it’s cold.
During the spring, summer, and fall we are outdoors more often. We are fueled with Vitamin D. Sports activities, camping trips, vacations all keep us going. We are moving around. We are burning calories, flexing the muscles and doing things. Backyard BBQs are the usual weekend thing and there are plenty of fruits and vegetables to be had.
Something happens to us when it gets cold outside. We turn into human versions of bears. We tend to hibernate! Side note…. did you know that skunks and snakes hibernate as well? Hallelujah! There is nothing worse than the skunk smell or finding a half -eaten snake in the back yard. Anyhow…back to us.
We hibernate. We curl up on the couch. We grab all of the fuzzy things, have a fire, watch the shows and linger in the warmth. The problem isn’t that we hibernate, it’s that we don’t do the things that keep us healthy while we do so.
Tell me when the last time you jumped up in excitement to drive off to the gym when it was 8 degrees outside with snow on the ground? You did? Great! You are a total rock star. I, on the other hand, did not. This is the reason I write today. We need to learn what we can do in the colder months to keep our bodies in a good healthy state, including our cholesterol.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we are in for a pretty harsh winter this year. You’re not going to find me out running wild in the frigid air. Therefore, we are going to have to have an action plan!
Here are a few great tips to survive the winter months and not have to torture yourself out in the cold.
Please make sure you are taking a quality Vitamin D supplement. Always check with your physician if this is something new for you.
Go up and down your stairs a few extra times each day. It doesn’t equal the gym, but it’s going to give your heart an extra boost.
Make sure to include 2 or even 3 vegetables with every meal. Yes, even breakfast. Throw in some spinach with your eggs, or your smoothie.
Monitor your sweets. Blood glucose levels are still very important to your overall health in the winter. Don’t let Santa fool you!
Water, water and more water. You know the drill.
Yoga stretches, planks, sit ups, squats, jumping jacks can all be done in the comfort of your own home.
Have confidence in yourself! Miss a day? Start fresh the next. We are all in this together! Have a great weekend and give yourself a pat on the back.
Kim is a business owner in Grain Valley, as a Health and Wellness Advocate with Plexus Worldwide. www.plexusslim.com/kimberlywendschlag