(StatePoint) With colder weather comes an increase in weather-related illness and health issues. From activity levels to mood, diet and more, seasonal weather affects all areas of your life.
But, don’t let the winter blues get you down — follow these tips to help keep your family healthy and happy during the cold-weather months.
“Winterize” your diet
Some fresh fruits and veggies can be hard to find in winter. The Cleveland Clinic suggests turning to root vegetables like beets, carrots and turnips since they can withstand cold temperatures, making them easier to find. Also on their list of suggested foods are oatmeal, soup (without a lot of salt), sushi, broccoli and cauliflower — all of which provide essential nutrients to support immunity and boost vitamin levels.
Also, be sure to work vitamin D into your system. It aids bone health and muscle strength, but during shorter, cloudy days of winter, you might not get the necessary amount you need. Harvard School of Public Health recommends daily 15-minute walks outside to get some sun and eating vitamin D-rich foods such as dairy products, breakfast cereals and fish like salmon and tuna. You may also consider a supplement.
Studies show daily exercise and activity offer immune-boosting benefits. People who exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day experience a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the number of days they get sick, according to studies at Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab.
Encourage the family to get active with step or fitness trackers. Daily or weekly step goals and challenges with siblings or spouses are fun ways to keep everyone moving. FitBit, Garmin and Jawbone all make trackers with corresponding mobile apps to help monitor goals.
And, when cabin fever sets in, grab the kids and head outside. Cold weather activities nearby or on a trip away, such as sledding, skiing and snowboarding, can offer additional exercise outside the normal indoor routine.
Always be prepared
When the weather gets cold, the risk of certain illnesses like cold and flu rise. What’s in your feel-better-fast kit when your family gets sick? Items doctors recommend to have when a cold or the flu hits include: pain and fever relief (ibuprofen, acetaminophen), tissues, fluids (especially cool water), soup and tea, throat lozenges and a digital temperature monitor.
Instead of waking young children to get accurate temperature readings with a digital thermometer, consider picking up TempTraq the next time you’re at Target, CVS or Walgreens. It’s a wearable, Bluetooth monitor that safely and continuously senses, records and transmits body temperature for 24 hours through its free TempTraq app. You can even receive fever alerts so you can eliminate poking or prodding kids in the middle of the night, providing peace of mind for you and much needed rest for them during sick days.