1) Hydrotherapy for Health: No need for expensive spas when you can enjoy the benefits right at home. Hot-cold water therapy is an effective way to condition your circulation and improve your body’s natural defenses. It’s an incredible pick me up and helps to increase calorie burning by encouraging energy burning brown fat tissue activity and “metabolic adaptation,” as the body revs up to maintain core temperature. Take a hot shower or soak in a therapeutic herbal bath (Juniper, Eucalyptus, Rosemary oils or salts) and then either venture outdoors in a robe to feel the fresh cold air or practice alternating hot, cool, cold water flows in the shower to feel invigorated.
2) Hold Out on Hibernation: If you turn up the heat and keep your home too warm you can feed into sluggish, sleepy habits, hit the couch and conserve calories. This will put the brakes on energy burning and weight you could lose by not letting yourself habituate and adapt to cooler temps. Try lowering the heat to 60 degrees for few hours to gain a metabolic advantage and help you get used to colder outside temperatures. Being outside in the cold for a few hours can raise your metabolic rate as much as 15% which can translate into 200-300 calories extra per day!
3) Polar Plunges: You’ve seen the excitement surrounding an exhilarating New Years Day cold water plunge! Those who’ve achieved fitness and braved the weather to greet the season will tell you how amazing it feels. For those uninitiated or not yet ready, you can train your body to feel the benefit of cold water therapy and look to enrich your immune system, circulation and your quality of life. Try cold water therapies like a cold arm bath, leg and knee effusions, water treading or cold limb compresses. They are therapeutic and will decrease inflammation and pain, help to tone your system and improve blood pressure.
4) Winter Foods For Fitness: Fat and fiber are among the season’s best defenses when it comes to planning your cold weather menu. Tone down the carbs and sweets and bring up the protein and fiber with natural whole foods that are rich sources of insulating and nourishing fats, probiotics, vitamins and plant chemicals. Take a lesson from Nordic countries where a stark contrast in obesity rates (12 %) versus the U.S. (36%) is observed. Food faves include Swiss Muesli, sprouted rye bread, stone ground cornmeal, hemp seed, berries, Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), fatty fish like herring, sardines, salmon or haddock. Turn nourishing root veggies like turnips, parsnips, rutabagas into a rejuvenating winter soup to soothe your soul. .
5) Let it Snow: Let the kid in you come out and play! You can make snow a big part of your winter exercise regimen. From skating, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing and skiing to neighborhood norms of shoveling and snowman making, these activities get you out into the fresh air and average 300-600 calories per hour. Explore new outdoor adventures and take a cue from nature as it rejuvenates and gets ready for new season of growth. Yes, before you know it, Spring is around the corner!
Eat Healthy! Be Happy!
Nicolette M. Pace