Staying Healthy During the Endless Winter

Hello from Galway Ireland! I am sorry for being MIA for so many days. I really miss blogging, but I am having trouble getting wireless on my laptop and my in laws computer just broke. So you will have to wait for a full Ireland and Prague recap until I get home to Boston tomorrow!

Since the winter seems to be sticking around, I thought I would re post a guest post I did for On a Lobster Placemat awhile back.

If you have read my blog recently then you already know that I was chosen  to run on Team ALLY for the 2010 Boston Marathon. This will be my 3rd Boston and 4th marathon (the other being Bermuda with Team in Training), and one of the things I love most about this marathon is that the training takes place in winter. This same “perk” is the very thing that turns many people off of running spring marathons. Why do I love getting up in the dark, subzero temperatures to run for hours? Well I don’t love that part, but what I do love is the immune boost that training outdoors through the winter gives me. I am not a medical professional, so my experiences are not based on any scientific research, but the years that I have trained for a spring marathon have gone by without any illness at all, no coughs, colds, strep, or the usual bronchitis that has plagued me in years past. Perhaps it is the physical fitness that keeps my immune system kickin or maybe the amount of fresh air that I get in contrast to my more indoorsy counterparts. Whatever it is, it seems to be a natural way for me to stay well.

There are many ways that I stay well over the winter, and as I generally avoid taking medicine, they are all natural. (Absolutely nothing wrong with medicine, by the way, I have always just been one to suffer through headaches and such!)

1)   Eat like you do in the summer. . . most of the time.
Obviously for most of us, access to fresh fruits and veggies declines and/or becomes pricey once winter hits. The temptation to eat heavy stews and mac and cheese can be hard to resist on those endless cold dark nights, and of course there is room for those things in a healthy diet. But I try to keep eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Most stores carry an abundance of frozen varieties that can be used in crunchy warm stir fries, or thawed and topped with hot oats for a body and soul warming meal. Continuing a vitamin rich food intake is number one for me, especially when work gets busy and the holidays hit.

2)  Supplements
Everyone has their own opinions and experience with supplements, but I swear by drinkable ones such as Emergen-C and Amazing Grass powders. Trader Joe’s Super Red Drink Powder is my recent favorite. I really think it has saved me this winter! They boost my energy, serve as great snacks, and offer nutrients that I may need a bit more of.

3)  Water

Just because you aren’t sweating doesn’t mean you can drink less! Water is key to keeping your entire body working properly, including your immune system, and keeping the toxins in your body on the fast track out of you! I have been guilty many times of not hydrating well after an outdoor winter run because I am not thirsty, and I have paid for it! Make sure to be conscious of your fluid intake; that cranked way too high office heat takes its toll!

4. Hand washing
While really obvious, this one is so important! We all need to be reminded, especially in a year with flu levels expected to soar. My office has already seen its fair share of sick days, so I try to wash my hands multiple times a day in addition to the obvious ones. Keeping your phone, keyboard and desk clean and disinfected also make a huge difference.

5. Take a break!
I recently asked my readers what comforts them when they get sick, and so many of the things they do and eat could be done before you get sick. Make sure to take a break to curl up and watch a DVD or make yourself some amazing hot soup and go to bed early. Being run down makes it easy for germs to have their way with us, so be easy on yourself.

If you get sick there are lots of ways to cut the life of the illness short and to make sure you remain as comfortable as possible.

1)  Listen to your body, and listen well. It may tell you to take a sick day or to skip a couple of days at the gym. It knows best, and you will bounce back stronger!

2)  Try some natural relief: saline spray is miraculous for a stuffy nose, and my cure all broth (chicken or veggie broth with sautéed garlic, chilis, and ginger, heated to a drinkable temp) soothes the throat, clears the sinuses, and makes you sweat it all out. If all else fails, my in laws in Ireland give me a hot whiskey. It helps you get all of the sleep you need! :)

3)  A short, hot bath or shower with some dried lavender or lavender soap, followed by bedtime in the warmest pile of blankets you can find

Hopefully some of these tips will help to keep you strong and healthy throughout the winter. Do you have any other winter wellness tips that you swear by? Please share! :)

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Tags: health, wellness

  1. Simply Life’s avatar

    I hope you’re enjoying your trip and am so impressed by your training throughout the winter!!!


  2. MarathonVal’s avatar

    Great tips – I hate to jinx myself ;) but I also swear that my immunity has improved since taking a daily shot of Amazing Grass wheatgrass! I’ve almost learned to even like it… ALMOST…


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