The throes of winter have a curious way of smothering our spirits while rousing our need to stir, to be out in the world. The result? We're incapable of doing what we're meant to do: live a well-balanced life. But it doesn't have to be that way. Instead of slogging your feet (over ice, through slush) and skulking at the cold that won't be going away in the foreseeable future, make the most of March.
This guide is for the tried-and-true winter sufferers trying to maintain their physique, beat the blues and ward off the flu. Hopefully these tips will save your mind and muscle so you can tear into spring with a smile on your face and a six-pack under your shirt.
WORKOUT FROM HOME
Even for the fittest people out there, training is a constant challenge, and this is the time of year when most people just don’t have the drive to answer that challenge, opting for more sedentary lifestyles. Convenience has a big influence on our motivation, so make things easier by turning your home into your personal gym. Here are 10 at-home workouts that can build muscle in under 20 minutes and here are 8 at-home workouts designed to burn fat fast.
The less you have to worry about (like driving to the gym in inclement weather), the more inclined you are to commit to a workout.
Go outside. Yes, you read that right. Go outside and get some fresh air in your lungs and sunshine on your face. Nearly 50 percent of Buffalonians (people from Buffalo) have insufficient levels of vitamin D, and 25 percent are considered deficient, a recent study from the University at Buffalo found. Worse, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are dealing with vitamin D deficiency, which means you may be deficient and don't even realize it.
And pale skin will be the least of your worries. People who have low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have lower bone density, a weakened immune system, higher susceptibility to some cancers and even increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases; they're also more likely to have diabetes—regardless of their BMI, a study from the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found.
Take your workout outside, even if it's freezing cold. Try this winter workout; it'll get blood flowing to your brain (which research shows can improve your focus, help prevent vitamin D deficiency, and keep your muscles growing.
Research from Oregon State University, published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders, has found evidence that depression during cold weather months might not be as common as once thought. However, for those who are impacted by seasonal depression, or SAD, Stephen Josephson, Ph.D., clinical associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City offers some advice.
Seasonal affective disorder brings with it a major diet-wrecking symptom: the craving of high-carb comfort foods. Don't be fooled. "It's like a drug. It has some anti-anxiety effects, but over time it has some negative effects, too." Abusing simple carbs, like chips and ice cream, is a sure way to derail your fitness goals. Try these four mood boosters to help fight off weight gain, fatigue, and depression this season.
Half the trick to winter running involves scoring the right gear that’ll cover your skin from sub-zero temps and 15 mph wind gusts. Sweat-wicking layers are essential for keeping your muscles warm and overall comfort.
To decrease your chance of injury, follow the old-school “25 degree rule,” which suggests dressing for weather 25 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. (This compensates for your rise in body temperature during your run and rapid decrease afterward.) And, of course, wear the right shoes to blast through snow, slush and ice. Also make sure you have night running gear for those 5pm sunsets.
“Immune system soldiers need good, consistent nourishment,” says Jennifer McDaniel, R.D.N., a food and nutrition expert. Here are seven essential foods that you should fill your plate with during cooler-weather months to help your immune system work at its optimum level.
Lock some lips in lieu of flu season. By swapping spit, you introduce your lady to bacteria she may encounter later on, making her more equipped to ward off future infections. And she does the same for you.
Just 10 seconds of kissing, passes along 80 million (good) bacteria, which helps form a similar mix of living bacteria in you and your partner's bodies so you're both better prepared to deal with similar infections, research has found.
There’s no surefire way to dodge colds and the flu—both are respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, explains Pritish Tosh, M.D., an infectious disease physician at the Mayo Clinic. Still, it's possible to preempt seasonal sicknesses by keeping your immune system on its A-game.
Remmeber the basics: get your flu shot, wash your hands often, disinfect your phone and anything you touch frequently, stay hydrated, and eat your fruits and veggies.
Follow these tips and 5 other ways to win the war on colds so you can down on the number of days you spend coughing, sneezing, and calling out sick this winter.
With record snowfall in Boston, and Chicago recently experiencing subzero temperatures among other reports, much of the country is enduring one of the worst winters to-date.
To help you through this difficult time, we suggest you avoid facing the cold, and create a Gentlemen’s Rum Toddy at home to shake off the winter blues.
Made with FACUNDO EXIMO, an ultra-premium aged rum (10-12 years), the Gentlemen’s Rum Toddy is a heightened take on a winter-weather classic. The rum’s aromas of toffee, caramel and subtle notes of bittersweet chocolate, blended with apple spice liqueur and St. Elizabeth Dram, makes this chest-warming cocktail a seasonal favorite.
If your trip involves dashing to the gym in the wee hours of the morning or slinking down the slopes of Aspen or Park City; these puffer coats are well worth the investment. They'll keep you warm without making you look like the Michelin Man.
RELAX AND RECOVER
To get fit, you work out regularly. But if you don’t give your body time to rest after strenuous exercise, you’re only upping the chance that you’ll get sick. Lack of sleep and overworked muscles have the same effect on your health, producing an “acidic environment in your body, which creates a breeding ground for viruses and germs to take over,” says Dr. Eliaz. The solution? Give your muscles some down time, and make sure you get 7 to 9 hours of solid sleep a night.
Stress can drain your immune system, which increases your risk of getting sick. Stress can drain your immune system, which increases your risk of getting sick. (Don't believe it? In one 2012 study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people who experienced a major stressful event were two times more likely to catch the common cold.) So think of “chilling out” as just another exercise for your workout routine, which can help keep your body strong.