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Posted: October 26, 2022
Changes in seasons can also lead to changes in routine. Whether it’s a big weather change, holiday season, or a busy time of the year, our routines may not always be the same 365 days a year. Having a routine can be great, but knowing how to push through seasons with a lack of routine can also be helpful. It may not always be practical to do the same thing every week, but filling in the gaps of busy times with different variations of exercise, supplements and health routines can help your health goals stay on track. Here are a few things to keep an eye on during the changes in seasons.
Spending less time in the sun, and having a less powerful sun during winter months, can lead to a decrease in vitamin D levels. Maintaining vitamin D status through foods and supplementation can help drastically with your vitamin D levels throughout the winter. If you are an athlete or over the age of 70, your vitamin D needs actually increase. People with darker skin are also at higher risk of deficiency because it is more difficult to make vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is especially important in the winter months because it helps with immune function as well! To learn more about vitamin D3 supplementation, check out our Vitamine Wellness options.
Hydration often decreases in the colder months because our bodies often feel thirst cues less than in warmer weather. It’s important to stay extra hydrated in the winter months as well, because it helps with absorbing our water soluble vitamins, and promotes digestion and better skin. If you struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day or have a tendency to forget, try to set reminders on your phone to drink water. Another method is to drink water every time you have a snack or meal so it’s easier to become a habit.
Exercise routine is something that tends to change when the weather gets colder. If you live somewhere that has chilly temperatures for multiple months, that often keeps people inside more and walking outside less. If you have a gym membership, this may be less of a noticeable change. However, as a dietitian I tend to see people being less active in the winter because of the busy holiday season as well. If your walking routine is minimal in the winter and spring months, there are other ways you can walk indoors!
I recommend checking out local shopping malls or large retail buildings and taking a few laps inside when you’re running your errands. Another option is to bundle up and go for a walk with a friend or a podcast. Exercise plays a big role in your mental and physical health, weight management, and stress reduction. The American Heart Association recommends exercising 150 minutes per week, plus two resistance or strength training workouts.
Stress and the Holidays
While the holiday season can be a time for fun and gathering, other feelings like financial stress, scheduling stress, and emotional stress can all be common as well. Scheduling downtime for self-care, relaxing, and getting enough sleep is so important during the holidays. It’s hard to fill from an empty cup, so taking a few minutes for yourself each day to breathe and relax can do wonders for your mental health and blood pressure! Stress can also impact food cravings and disrupt sleep, so if you find it hard to fall asleep, melatonin and magnesium may help with that.
Produce intake sometimes goes down in the winter due to many fruits and vegetables being out of season. Vitamin C is important because it plays a role in immune function, and also helps increase iron absorption. If you are not consuming frequent sources of vitamin C through foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes or strawberries, supplementing with vitamin C may be helpful.
Sodium and Saturated Fat
While we love holiday foods, many classic recipes can be high in sodium and saturated fat, and low in fiber. If you have conditions like heart disease or diabetes, being mindful of portion sizes with these foods is important. Try to follow a plate method to help visualize portions of a balanced meal. Aiming for ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate starches or grains, and ½ plate fruits and veggies can help with keeping nutrients in check. As dietitians, we promote everything in moderation – so enjoy your favorite foods, but try to be mindful of quantities if you have health conditions of concern.
If you are unsure if your diet includes enough nutrients for your health, reach out to one of our Vitamine Wellness dietitians and set up a free Discovery Session. To learn which vitamins would best help support your goals, take our Vitamine quiz to get a personalized recommendation. For even more support, you can reach out to any of our Vitamine dietitians through the chat to get your questions answered.
Click here to connect with our Vitamine Wellness dietitians for more support.*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.