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In many parts of the world, winter is harsh with prolonged, freezing cold days. A majority of people who live in countries with a harsh winter season are often afraid of this season. People are concerned that the weather conditions will disrupt their work and negatively impact their health. This results in passivity, fatigue and sadness during the season.

Here’s how to stay healthy and experience the winter season to the fullest.

Participate in winter activities

Winter may last up to six months, that’s half of the year (in the big picture half of your life!), so we must learn how to cope effectively. One tip is to actively take part in seasonal sports, including skiing or skating. If you don’t know how to ski, don’t be afraid. Anyone can learn and there are countless ski training centers in Canada. Newbies to this sport will barely have injuries because training places are not dangerous. In addition, trainees are also equipped with safety tools. As a result, anyone can learn and enjoy skiing, which will bring brightness to a bleak winter and thaw out your fear of this season. Elderly people with fragile health and bones should be cautious about participating in this sport. Those who can’t downhill ski can try cross country skiing, which is another wonderful activity.

The dreary wintertime affects our biological clock and can result in prolonged depression, anxiety and poor sleep. To improve your physical condition, increase your outdoor activities. This helps our body adjust to outdoor temperatures and get used to the cold.

Admire the beauty of winter

Make sure you have quality, warm clothes and accessories to ward off freezing temperatures. In good weather, and when it snows, one can go for walks or take a stroll in the park and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Buy a cross country ski set and head to a park or golf course to enjoy some wonderful exercise. Think of the many people all over the world who are living in countries that never snow. Cherish these moments and enjoy them.

How to stay healthy in winter

Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet to improve your immune system. Winter is flu season and there are free flu vaccinations available for Canadian residents. This is policy that the government of Canada is adopting so that citizens avoid getting sick. Those who are allergic to the vaccine are more susceptible to minor problems such as fever, fatigue or aches which can be easily tackled by following instructions from your doctor.

Stay active and eat healthy with lots of fruits and vegetables because they contain lots of vitamins, antioxidants and, along with fiber rich cereals, are key to fighting stress, improving your immune system and preventing prevalent diseases associated with winter. Most people in Canada lack vitamin D because in winter we are not regularly exposed to the sun. Most people need to take vitamin D supplements, in particular the elderly and children.

Fresh air is of ultimate importance. Many people find that when children go outside in the cold and come back inside, they have runny noses and sneeze. They are not getting sick, these are natural reactions of the body. Children need greater exposure to the outdoors to grow and adapt to the weather.

An issue that prevails in winter is dry, itchy skin. To alleviate, install a humidifier in the house, and use moisturizers. Nothing is as wonderful as bathing in hot water during cold winter days, but do not stay too long in hot water because it will cause your skin to be abrasive and weaken, and become more susceptible to dermatologic issues.

Winter Blues – not out of the blues

Winter blues is a prevalent issue in wintertime. People may feel a bit down when the days grow shorter and colder. For some people, these changes are severe and cause emotional disorders collectively called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression. To cure this syndrome, light therapy or antidepressants are used. For light therapy, a kerosene lamp is placed on the bed and switched on when you nearly wake up, which will grow brighter gradually.

Great places to experience winter

There are many beautiful and well known ski destinations in Ontario, including Blue Mountain Resort, near  Collingwood. Banff and Lake Louise in Alberta, and Whistler, B.C., are also breathtaking winter sport destinations. Drive a couple hours south of Toronto to Ellicottville, N.Y., and you’ll find family-friendly Holiday Valley ski resort. Right in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), the Heart Lake Conservation Area wins the hearts of people who want to savor wintertime.

In countries other than Canada, there are also numerous winter tourist attractions. At Kakslauttanen, Finland, thermal glass igloo rooms allow guests to look up into the celestial sky and admire the Northern lights.

Although the days may be shorter and it may grow darker and colder, we still need to keep active, eat healthy, and participate in outdoor experiences. By doing so, we will no longer be held back by wintry chills. Make the most of the season and enjoy winter to the fullest!

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Dr. Khoi Nguyen
Dr. Khoi holds a Science Degree from the University of Toronto and received his medical degree in 1988. He is currently seeing patients at his private family medicine practice. In 2010, he received the Canada’s Citizenship Award for his numerous contributions to the community. Bác sĩ Khôi tốt nghiệp ngành khoa học tại University of Toronto và tốt nghiệp y khoa năm 1988. Hiện nay ông đang làm việc tại phòng mạch tư chuyên về sức khỏe gia đình, và đã được vinh dự nhận giải thưởng Canada’s Citizenship Award năm 2010.