Tips for keeping healthy in the cold weather.
This winter in St. Charles has been interesting. Between a relatively warm Christmas to “Snowmagedon Part 1 and Part 2” in January our weather has been all over the place. This has led many patients in my office to ask me a few common questions: What can I do to help keep myself from getting sick? What are some things I can do at home to keep moving while the weather is bad outside? And how can I improve my balance, so I don’t slip on the ice?
First let’s answer “What can I do to help keep myself from getting sick?”. Most important is staying hydrated. You should be drinking as many ounces of water a day as half your body weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds you should drink 100 ounces of water a day. Your body needs water to survive and is stresses every cell in your body when you are dehydrated. You have to work harder to pull water out of all your food any anything else you drink rather than just being able to take the water in its original form. When your body has to work extra to, most likely, still be dehydrated but functional it decreases your immune system, so you get sick easier. Some other simple steps you can take to boost your immune system is eating food with high quantities of vitamin C, such as oranges, and eat 1 egg a day. The vitamin C boosts immune function and the egg contains important proteins for your body to build and repair itself as needed. Lastly, you should get adjusted by your chiropractor. A chiropractic adjustment has been shown to increase immune function. By taking the pressure or irritation off the nerves it allows your body to focus on your immune system to fight off foreign pathogens.
With all this yo-yo type weather many patients have been asking me “What are some things I can do at home to keep moving while the weather is bad outside?”. There are many activities you can do inside to keep moving year-round. A very simple suggestion is to get up and walk around your living room or house during commercial breaks while you’re watching TV rather than fast forwarding through them. During an average hour-long TV show you will be able to get 10-15 minutes of walking in just by getting up during the commercials. Another option is to practice some simple yoga poses. Such poses include: cat/camel, child’s pose, downward dog, triangle pose, etc. Movement is key to life so adding in these simple movements to your day when you are stuck inside is a great way to keep on track with your movement goals.
Finally, the most common question I received this last week was “How can I improve my balance, so I don’t slip on the ice?”. The first key factor to this answer is to work on your balance daily. A simple way to work on your balance is by holding onto a sturdy chair and raising one leg off the ground and holding it there. Start with two hands on the chair then work down to one hand and then no hands holding you steady. The second key factor is to keep your feet, or your gait, closer together when it’s slick outside. Rather than taking big steps like you normally would take smaller steps and try to keep your body weight over the first leg. Think of how penguins walk on the ice all day long without constantly slipping and falling. This is partially due to their body weight constantly being over the feet as they walk. So, walk like a penguin to help prevent falls.
So, what are you going to do to improve your immune system, movement of your spine, and your balance? You can start by getting a chiropractic adjustment and address all three in one.