The Effects of Winter Weather and Its Impact on Our Bodies
Many people associate the summertime and the bright sunshine with younger-looking skin. That light sunkissed tan helps hide blemishes and puts some color on our cheeks. In the heat, we also tend to eat more fresh vegetables and light summer foods, meaning our bodies have a chance to slim down as well.
Conversely, it seems like winter weather does quite the opposite. Those healthy tans fade away, our skin starts to get dry, and we even begin to put on a bit of winter weight. Not to mention, many months of cold temperatures can negatively impact our mental health too. So what can we do to ward off those sometimes undesirable effects of winter weather? Read on for some simple tips.
Cold temperatures cause our blood vessels to constrict. It also leads to shallower breathing and a slight thickening of our blood. Unfortunately, these changes can be incredibly challenging for those with heart disease. So, when spending time outdoors, be sure to wear the appropriate winter clothing, including a warm jacket, hat, and gloves. In freezing weather, be sure to also wear warm winter pants or snow pants.
When we continuously breathe in dry air, it can lead to respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and nosebleeds. We can also become dehydrated more easily since our body fluids are depleted with every breath. Further, quicker skin moisture evaporation can lead to skin irritation and itchy eyes.
Increased Use of an Indoor Heater
During the winter months, it is inevitable that we will spend more time inside. And when we do so, we may be tempted to crank up our heaters to stay warm. Unfortunately, increased heater use tends to dry out the air inside our homes, and the excessive use of indoor heaters can cause fluctuations in body temperature, dry out your skin, and lead to accidental burns and other injuries that can leave long-term scarring.
Decreased Vitamin D
When we spend less time soaking up the sunshine (even with our high-SPF sunscreen slathered on), we get less vitamin D, which is a vital nutrient our bodies need to build and maintain healthy bones. Not only that, but vitamin D helps us absorb calcium, which is also integral for building strong bones. And since vitamin D includes anti-aging properties, you can imagine what happens when we don’t get enough of it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Living and working in Alaska, we’ve all heard of SAD. With shorter days and less exposure to the sun, our circadian rhythm can get all out of whack. Our bodies need regularity in our internal clocks to help us regulate our sleep, mood, and appetite. And when we’re feeling down or overtired, it can show in our faces and affect how we get through our daily lives.
Motivation to Exercise
When we’re feeling tired or depressed, the last thing we want to do is hop on the treadmill, take the dog for a walk, or start a weight-lifting routine. Though exercising can provide a much-needed boost of energy and lift our spirits, we typically don’t want to do it if it is cold outside.
But a lack of exercise can lead to heart disease, even if you don’t have other risk factors. Failing to get that heart pumping for 30 minutes a day a few times per week can also increase the likelihood that you will develop other heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
How to Reverse the Adverse Effects of Winter Weather
After reading all of those things that can make us look and feel a bit rundown, it’s only natural to want to know how to reverse the potential adverse effects of winter weather. Thankfully, there are several things you can do, most involving just a few simple changes to your daily lifestyle that will boost your immune system and help you look and feel younger.
- Avoid stress as much as possible. If you are feeling stressed, take some time to meditate, practice deep breathing, or get some exercise. Even a quick walk for five minutes around the house can get your blood pumping and improve your mood.
- Eat a healthy diet. Avoid acidic foods that can be damaging to your teeth, and make sure you are getting a healthy dose of vegetables and protein in your diet each day.
- Get enough sleep. Adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep per night to feel their best and have the energy to function throughout the day.
- Exercise. If you aren’t getting your body moving, it is time to make a change. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise three to four times per week can significantly improve your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
- Visit the spa, sauna, or massage therapist. Did we mention relaxing? A visit to your favorite spa or massage therapist is not only calming and relaxing. It’s the epitome of whole-body healing. And a sauna has additional benefits for the heart. In fact, a Finnish study suggests that regular sauna use can lower the risk of death from heart attacks, heart disease, and mortality in general. So make a day of it!
- Regular dental checkups. If your body is starting to be affected by winter weather, you can also consider Botox treatments. Botox can help relieve migraines, muscle tension, and joint and TMJ pain, and it can remove some of those stubborn wrinkles that are often brought on by stress. Be sure to visit your dentist if you are overdue for a checkup, as some dental issues, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease, can arise from a vitamin D deficiency.
See your Wasilla family dentist this winter.
As wintertime continues, now is a great time to visit your Wasilla family dentist. Dentists, just like physicians, can guide you on what to do to reverse the effects of winter weather. And remember those Botox treatments we mentioned? Valley Dental Clinic can provide them to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your mouth and eyes.
So if it is time for your dental cleaning and oral examination, or you want to give Botox a try to help you look a bit younger this winter, now is the time to request an appointment. We look forward to seeing you.