Health, mood and energy levels get impacted by cold weather. Do you feel happier, and more energetic, when the sun is out? You are not alone. Find out how grey and cold weather impacts you, and which natural boosters work. The weather’s effect on your health is far-reaching. The link between climate change and human health is undisputed. A science that is becoming increasingly important is biometrology, which is devoted to the relationship between weather, climate and health. Medical practitioners recognise that depression and SAD – seasonal affective disorder – are weather driven conditions. These common-sense tips will counteract the impact of nature on your body, mind and spirit.
Cold Weather Blues
Cold weather affects us. The body reacts to changes in weather, as does the natural world around us. Biometrology is the science of how — and why — the weather impacts animals, plants and humans.
From changing symptoms of existing diseases, contributing to new conditions and prompting temporary physiological changes inside your body, the weather’s effect on your health is far-reaching. www.weather.com
If you feel happier on a sunny day, and less energetic when it is rainy — you are not alone. It is scientifically proven that blood pressure rises, and that we are in fact human barometers that get impacted by atmospheric conditions.
As we react to our body’s temperamental behaviour, our mind follows suit. The challenge is to resist hibernation. Your body screams for comfort food, TV and all things slow, warm and cosy.
The result however is less energy, extra weight and mood swings. By knowing why weather impacts us, we learn how to counteract Mother Nature by using her very own gifts. Get the booster tips, and turn this into a challenge for the darker months.
Cold Weather Impact: The Human Barometer
Your body, mind and spirit is affected by weather. Atmospheric pressure make us human barometers. Blood pressure, joints, mood and energy levels all react. Why is that? For more detailed information you can click on the highlighted links.
- Blood pressure rises with grey and cold weather. The body protects itself against the lower temperatures, and blood vessels contract. Pressure builds up as the blood is forced to push itself through narrowed veins and arteries.
- Joint pain increases with humidity and cold temperatures. The body reacts to cloud cover, higher winds, drifting rain and snow. Sudden changes in barometric pressure, such as the switch that occurs right before a storm, can trigger joint pain. Cold weather can also cause painful changes in joint fluid thickness, some research has found.
- Headaches tend to increase with barometric pressure. The reason is not clear, but it may be that the pressure in the brain or the way the brain blocks pain is impacted. It may also be evolutionary, as it keeps humans in tune with their environment.
- Sinus pains in winter can be difficult, as they increase when barometric pressure, or the weight of the air pressing down on the surface of the earth, changes.
- Diabetics have a harder time to control blood sugar doing cold fronts, as a weather front is associated with low pressure, and thus blood viscosity, or thickness, increases.
- You burn more calories during cold weather, which is an interesting motivator to get out there and move. Your body will also ask for more food to compensate, which can be a bit tricky.
- With the rising blood pressure, and strenuous activity (running too hard, snow shovelling, gardening etc) the risk for heart attacks increase with cold weather.
- Common cold increase during cold weather season. While a cold can’t be contracted from cold, experts say that an immune system gets weakened by rapid temperature swings. The cold virus also transmits better in cold air.
- SAD sufferers are more affected when the it is grey, cold, and rainy. In the northern hemisphere self-harm, depression and prescription drugs for these conditions go up during the darker months.
- Feeling tired and energy zapped increases drastically for many during grey and cold weather.
- The lower pressure outside increases our wish to stay warm and cosy inside. We are trained to seek out comforting foods that are calorie rich, creamier and sweeter. Exercise and healthier food choices seem to go down with the temperatures outside too — which is exactly how our mind then gets further affected. As climate change is a real concern, and our health issues increase, we need to become better at figuring out what we ourselves can do. How can we naturally suppress this need to hibernate?
Cold Weather: Mood, Energy and Health Boosters
The weather impacts how we feel, eat and move. Do we have to accept the fact that winter comes with less energy, more kilo, and coughing? You can counteract and boost yourself with these common-sense, simple and totally achievable tips.
#1 Move Every Day to Lower Blood Pressure: Our body learnt to react to the weather in which it had to survive. Therefore the blood vessels contract which builds up pressure as blood is pushed through the system. For the heart this is not a great thing. Many heart attacks take place as the atmospheric pressure change. The other factor is that we are prone to move less, and blood pressure goes up even further.
- Move every day for at least 30 minutes. You need to think about warm-up, clothes and to not put undue stress on the body. Go for a run, but make sure to layer up. Whilst excuses are many – mind over matter will solve the initial resistance. Get the tips on winter exercises you can do in our next post about winter wellness.
- A bonus is that you burn more in winter weather. Walking gives you metabolism healthy burning energy, a mood booster and a great feeling.
#2 Get Sunlight: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. It is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. We need Vitamin D as it promotes calcium absorption in the gut. It is also needed for bone growth, and to protect us from osteoporosis. By going out less in during the darker months — and eating unhealthier foods — we contribute to our mood, energy and health loss. The way to solve this is:
- Go out every day, even if it is grey. You boost your mood, metabolism, get vitamin D and lower blood pressure. Perfect!
- Natural light is the best, but many get an energizing mood boost, by a so-called SAD Light Box / LED sunlamp.
#3 Food-Mood Connection: The food – mood connection is strong. By eating healthy, and avoiding processed foods, you are already on the right track.
Vitamin D and Serotonin are known mood boosters. The importance of serotonin has been highlighted as it is a chemical messenger that acts as a mood stabilizer and produces healthy sleeping patterns. The level of serotonin is low in those that suffer from depression, and also dips for heathy people during the darker months. This ‘feel good’ chemical isn’t easily found in foods, however serotonin is synthesised from the amino acid tryptophan.
- Vitamin D is found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, cheese, eggs and mushroom. Check out our next post for details on why, and how, to increase winter wellness and good food – mood during the darker months.
- Serotonin levels can be increased naturally by eating certain foods. The relationship between tryptophan and serotonin is part of what’s commonly considered the food-mood connection. Foods high in protein, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B6 all tend to contain large amounts of the amino acid. For inspiration check out our next post on which foods to choose to boost your serotonin.
#4 Existing Health Issues: Cold weather can affect those with existing health issues more.
- If you have a known health condition (heart problems, suffer from arthritis, Raynaud’s syndrome, fibromyalgia or depression) check with your Doctor for tips on how to deal with your particular ailment during the darker months.
- A healthy lifestyle will help general health. By moving daily, eating natural foods, and practicing mindfulness techniques you give yourself an extra boost.
- Protect yourself against cold and humidity by covering joints with natural, warm materials; exercising gently and get tools to aid your condition. For instance: The LED sunlamp is medically certified to treat SAD, and helps to increase moods.
#5 Common Cold: As cold weather and darkness comes, our bodily defences decrease. We are more prone to getting sick, and catch cold.
- Wear the right clothes and learn how to dress like an onion.
- Prevent colds by boosting your immune system naturally, and by drinking lots of water.
- You don’t get a cold from cold weather but these tips come in very handy: How to Beat Cold (s) and 10 Tips To Get Rid of Your Cold.
Cold Weather: Exercise, Food and Mindfulness
Exercise, healthy food and mindfulness will help us through the darker months. They counteract that wish to sink into a hole, and do nothing.
A walk a day, learning how to cook with natural foods, and avoiding processed products, will be a great start. Mindfulness techniques lower stress levels, increase winter wellness and build up resistance.
Winter, cold weather and grey days can bear down on you. To go about your business you need to stay focused on wellness. Don’t miss Part 2 in this series – Winter Wellness: The Food and Moves Your Body Needs. You get all the tips, recipes and tools to help you resist against the cold weather season.
You get the updates, newsletter and special offers by subscribing to The GOODista, and tell us what in the comments how you survive winter.
Recommended and Related:
- How Cold Weather Affects Your Health – Harvard Health
- The Effect of Weather and How To Prepare for Your Health – naturalnews.com
- Running in The Winter – fix.com
- Heart Health, Blood Pressure and Weather – Mayo Clinic
- Weather, Climate and Human-Made Health Stressors – Huffington Post
- Inspiration from Amazon:
How Do You Beat The Cold Season? Comment, Please 🙂
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