A special feature by Nicole Miksinski.*
With winter in full bloom, you may find yourself less active, eating more comfort food, and feeling overall lazier. If you’re a snowbird who spends the winters in Florida, or in the desert of California or are living at home in the cold brittle winters of the northern United States– you may be experiencing more aches and pains, fatigue, and decreased motivation to move. Just like our taste buds crave refreshing food in the summertime and soups in the winter, our bodies and brains also know there is a season change. So do the birds and the bees, the polar bears in Antarctica, and animals of the great migration. Our brain and inner clocks know ‘something is changing.’ But that ‘something’ does not have to define our lives– don’t let your geographical location or the change in weather rule your wellness.
Many people associate the change in season with a form of hibernation.
Do you find yourself:
- Watching more TV?
- Eating more savory/unhealthy foods?
- Sleeping more?
- Spending more time in sweatpants?
- Working out less?
- Less motivated?
With decreased exercise and a poorer diet, you may be experiencing flare ups in pain– leading to excuses to skip the gym. BUTTTTT, this is the time when you should be embracing your pain and using your own body to heal itself.
Exercise and movement help improve lubrication of your joints, improves flexibility of your muscles, and my favorite– releases those feel-good hormones, called endorphins. Take notice; you’ll feel less tired, less achy, and more energized if you move!
Examples of GO-TO exercises:
- Go for a walk outside
- Play with your pet
- Play with your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or other young ones
- Explore or find a new workout program or class
- See that unorganized closet in the corner? Organize it!
- Left over yard work from the fall? Rake those leaves.
- Find a yoga YouTube video
- Find a stretching program and do 15 minutes of stretching
- GO DO ANYTHING!
My BIGGEST tip: Get your movement done first thing in the morning, so it’s not lingering over your head all day. Don’t let the weather dictate your decisions; you can always throw on a pair of snow pants or stay inside and workout!
No matter what climate you find yourself in, try to get outside into the sun for some Vitamin D- a definite to boost your mood. Did you know Vitamin D helps in your immunity against colds and illness too? It acts more like a hormone than a Vitamin– interesting!
If you have underlying health conditions, always consult your doctor or physical therapist to make sure you are a candidate for a new workout program.
Remember there is no such thing as ‘bad weather,’ just a bad mindset. Don’t be afraid to go for a walk in the rain or build a snowman with your grandchildren or even with a friend. Prioritize your wellness goals and take control of your health– to prevent and decrease those aches and pains, improve your mood and energy levels, and live a happier life. Don’t be your own worst enemy– skip hibernation and find motivation!
*Nicole Miksinski is a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University and a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. She has her own home care physical therapy business in New York. Questions? Comments? Please contact Nicole at her website: Out-East-Wellness.com or
Nicole MiksinskiDPT@gmail.com. You can also follow her on instagram: DPTNicole.