By Kate Higgins
The cold weather is upon us, and these months can be daunting with less sunlight and less time outdoors. This doesn’t have to mean you can’t make your health a priority. The Glebe offers numerous opportunities to be outside and active; taking advantage of them along with routine health upkeep will ensure you are functioning at your best!
Most important, get outside. You can walk or run along the canal or through any of the parks in the neighbourhood. Use these outings to soak up vitamin D from the sun. Because sunshine is limited this time of year, try to go out at mid-day for peak exposure. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining bone density and immune function. Talk to your healthcare provider about supplements to make sure you are getting enough during the winter.
Being out in nature is beneficial not only to your physical health but also for your mental health. Nature has a calming effect and being outside provides the fresh air our bodies need. Once the canal is frozen and prepped, skating is the perfect winter activity. There are also outdoor rinks at Lansdowne, Mutchmor and Glebe Memorial Park.
Keep your physical fitness up now so you don’t strain yourself when shoveling season comes. We see a lot of injuries in people who get out of shape, then need to exert themselves to clear snow. Deal with injuries when they happen – that makes them easier to manage and speeds up recovery. There are numerous providers in the Glebe with different skill sets and techniques to help with a variety of concerns.
Get produce locally. We are fortunate to have a great farmers market at Lansdowne year-round. It has moved indoors for the winter but still has a wide range of produce to ensure you are getting the required nutrients during a season with increased illness. Focus on wholesome, nourishing foods that taste good and are good for you. Many traditional comfort foods, such as soups and casseroles, can be made with nutritious, fresh ingredients rather than by using pre-packaged options.
Water is also a nutrient that needs to be replenished. As the temperature drops, water consumption is less front of mind, so we tend to drink less than we need. It is important to get at least eight cups of water each day, a total of two litres, or more if you are active. This is vital for metabolic systems and temperature regulation year-round.
Get together and socialize with others. This is imperative for mental and physical health. Being surrounded by friends will boost endorphins. Go to a hockey or basketball game or to a concert at TD Place. Host dinners for friends or arrange activities such as board games, crafts, cooking or book clubs. Visit the Christmas market or other craft fairs to search for the perfect gift. But remember, COVID is still with us so consider whether you need to take precautions like wearing a mask indoors to stay healthy.
Use the change in seasons as a time to evaluate your current routine and set up new practices that will ensure you are keeping your health as optimal as it can be.
Kate Higgins is a chiropractor in the Glebe at CURAVITA Health Group on Third Avenue.