I'll start off with a quick list of ways to be healthy in the winter and if you're interested in the details click on read more.
1) Shovel safely
2) Vitamin D
3) Get Outside
4) Visit Friends and Family
6) Get a humidifier
7) Eat soups and stews
8) Drink warm herbal teas
9) Tips for diabetes or circulatory issues
10) Tips for breathing issues
11) Take immune boosters and antivirals
- The most important thing I would like to talk about this fall and winter is raking or shoveling. Every year you hear about a neighbour or someone in the news having a heart attack while shoveling. If you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle and your heart rate rarely goes anywhere near its maximum, this could be your future. Raking and especially shoveling are both physically demanding and can put a lot of strain on a heart that isn’t regularly exercised. While you’re shoveling, your lungs are also working hard to warm the air you’re breathing in and your skin is recruiting more blood to try to warm up.
- To reduce the odds of having a heart attack while raking or shoveling you can: a) Get someone else to do it; There are lots of people out there that could use the extra money. b) Get me or your MD to test your blood pressure, cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors to learn what your risk is
c) Start exercising regularly. d) Get a snow blower or ergonomic shovel. e) Don’t fill the shovel up too much, this is bad for your back and recruiting those larger muscles is even harder on your heart
- Don’t let pride put you at risk of a heart attack. If you do push yourself too hard and start to get chest pain/pressure, palpitations, shortness of breath or any peculiar symptoms like numbing of the jaw or arm for example, call 911 immediately. Here is a link to read some stats about hospitalizations from shoveling. Approximately 100 heart attacks per year and 11, 500 hospitalizations just from shoveling!
- If you're having lower back pain after shoveling and your heating pad doesn't do the job, you could come to us for some hands-on therapy like chiropractic manipulation, applied kinesiology, acupuncture, massage or cupping.
Here are some other things you can do for your health during the winter:
- If we’re not getting 30 minutes of summer sun each day, we’re not making enough. Doctors are told to assume everyone who isn’t supplementing with vitamin D North of Florida is deficient in it. Having adequate vitamin D will reduce your risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, colds, flues (better than the flu shot's efficacy), infections and strengthens your bones(important if you slip on the ice), among many other things. Come talk to me to find out how much and what form you should be taking and to find out if it interacts with your medications or any conditions that you have. Fish and mushrooms are good dietary sources! To read more about vitamin D check out WikiPedia's page.
- Most people think being exposed to cold is what causes colds. This is false; viruses are spread through respiratory droplets so it’s actually the fact that we spend more time indoors during the winter that makes us more susceptible to getting colds. The combination of having raw nasal mucosa from the dry air and being exposed to what other people are breathing/sneezing/coughing out is what makes us sick. Here's a great video explaining and visualizing how viruses are spread.
- We tend to want to stay in and stay warm when it’s cold outside but isolation is one of the main causes of depression. Even if you’re not someone who gets depressed easily, you going to visit a friend or family member who does could make a huge difference in their lives.
- Use moisturizer after getting out of the shower not as actual moisturizer. People tend to have dry skin in the winter. The heater in your house is not only drying up the molecules in the air but it’s also drying up the water molecules in your skin. Make sure you get a good moisturizer and apply it immediately after showering. Most moisturizers are made to keep the skin moisturized rather than moisturize the skin, so applying it to dry skin isn’t the best method. If you have really dry skin, it’s also important to make sure you don’t have hypothyroidism and that you’re not dehydrated or lacking essential fatty acids. The less ingredients, the better. A great natural moisturizer is coconut oil. If you'd like to see how safe your moisturizer is look it up on skin deep!
- As a continuation of the previous point, if we’re drying up the water molecules in the air, resupplying the air with water molecules is also a great idea. This can help with skin and dryness issues. Check out your local department store or Amazon.
- These are good for your digestion and your immune system. Try making your own soups and stews, as the ones on the shelves are loaded with preservatives and sodium. Making soups and stews is one of the easiest things to do so there’s no excuse! While it’s cold, try to avoid things like raw fruits and vegetables. Throw them in a slow-cooker instead if you can. Slow-cookers are great for efficiency and nice to come home to at the end of the day. If you need help finding recipes let me know. There are thousands of slow-cooker recipes on the internet but you can make an art out of it and figure out what works best for you. Usually foods that most people can't tolerate like garlic in onions become much more tolerable once slow-cooked so it's a good way of getting nutrients you wouldn't regularly get.
- Herbal teas are underestimated for their medicinal value. There can be immune-boosting teas, antiviral teas, teas that are good for digestion, kidneys, liver, sore throat, etc… I am trained in herbal medicine so if you come see me I can teach you about which teas would be best for you.
- Don’t stay out in the cold for too long: Staying in the cold too long could lead to frost-bite or serious damage to your hands and feet. In diabetes, your circulation and nervous system don’t always work properly. You need circulation to warm up those toes and you need nerves to tell you if they’re too cold and need to be warmed up. Some medications will increase your chances of frost-bite as well. You don't want your toes looking like this (warning!).
- Make sure you wear something that covers your nose and mouth (but lets you breathe), this will help warm the air up so your respiratory and cardiovascular systems don’t have to work so hard to warm the air up for you. If your heart and lungs have to work too hard to warm up the air you could have a heart attack or an asthma attack.
- There are several vitamins, nutrients and herbs which can improve your immunity and help stave off viruses. Talk to me if you’re interested in getting on a good immune-regimen.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me or comment below if you’re reading this online.
Advantage Chiropractic and Massage (Dunsmure and Sherman)