Winter Survival Guide – Staying Healthy through the Holidays and Beyond

December 8, 2015 Brigham and Women's Hospital

The official start of winter is still a couple of weeks away, but we’re already feeling its effects: shorter days, harsher weather, and increased illness due to flu and other diseases. The start of the holiday season presents additional challenges to our health with the tempting array of holiday treats we find at work, home, or school. Our winter survival guide offers some tips to help you and your family stay healthy, fit, and happy during winter.

Winter-1Enjoy Holiday Foods without Derailing Your Diet

The key to maintaining or achieving a healthy weight around the holidays is to plan ahead, watch what you eat, and stay active in the weeks leading up to and following the holidays. Having the attitude that you don’t have to eat huge portions to enjoy holiday foods also can make a big difference. Read more tips about eating well around the holidays.


Winter-4Let It Snow – Tips for Shoveling Snow Safely

Many people prepare for winter by making sure they have all the necessary supplies for snow and ice removal. However, it’s also important to protect ourselves from injury. Snow shoveling requires good technique and proper body mechanics to be performed safely and avoid low back or shoulder injuries.


Winter-3Running Tips for Cold and Snowy Weather

Don’t let the cold and snow discourage you from running outside. Layering and wearing appropriate clothing is crucial for cold-weather running. Wearing reflective clothing and a flashing light are also important for ensuring safety if you will be running during the early evening or morning, when it is still dark. Also, remember to stay hydrated and drink water during the winter, as you still lose moisture in the cold.


Winter-2Wintertime Health and Fitness

If venturing outdoors doesn’t appeal to you, try an exercise video that you can do from the comfort of your home, or join a local gym. This may be the perfect time try an exercise class, such as yoga, step, or Pilates.



Winter-5Light Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder in which a person’s depression occurs repeatedly in a particular season of the year. Most often people with SAD get depressed in winter when days are short. Evidence-based treatments for SAD include light therapy, using a specific type of light box to mimic some features of natural sunlight. Learn how to choose the right type of light box to treat SAD.


Winter-6Don’t Let the Flu Sneak Up on You – Get Your Flu Shot Now

The flu is more serious than you may realize. According to a study by the CDC, more than 200,000 people in the United States, on average, are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. Certain adults are at higher risk for serious illness and complications from the flu. Read about more reasons to get your flu shot this year.


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