Serving the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire of Georgia and South Carolina.
Thursday, December 7, 2023
With colder weather and shorter days, it can be tempting to hibernate the winter away. But even if you find yourself staying in more, you can still boost your health while doing so. In fact, now is a great time to slow down and take stock of your habits. Consider starting with these health-conscious choices to prioritize wellness through winter and beyond.
Winter is all about comfort foods, but warm and filling meals don’t have to be unhealthy. Spend some time in the kitchen this season trying out new recipes. Look for a healthy homemade variation of a takeout favorite, or incorporate a new vegetable into a different dish each week. Start with whatever’s in season, as produce consumed shortly after harvest has the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals. Winter squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, radishes, and turnips are all winter crops.
You can always enjoy a brisk walk if you’re properly bundled up. But if the thought of leaving your house tempts you to skip your workout altogether, switch out your normal routine with at-home exercise. Treadmills, stationary bicycles, and other at-home gym equipment offer cardio workouts without the outdoor chill.
No machinery? No problem. There are countless online workout videos you can try instead. Dance cardio, interval training, and even some yoga flows will get you moving from the comfort of your home. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate cardio and two days of resistance training each week to keep your heart strong.
Ideally, you should have been vaccinated for the flu by the end of October (when flu season typically begins). If you haven’t done so already, make a point to get your flu shot now, along with any other vaccines you may need. Depending on your age, you may be advised to receive a TDaP, shingles, RSV, or pneumonia vaccine. Meeting with your doctor regularly can help you stay ahead of their recommendations.
There’s never a bad time to schedule a checkup, but winter is especially ideal. Many people schedule non-emergency care at the end of the year, since out-of-pocket costs can be lower if you’ve met your deductible. But January is a winter month that can be a great time, too, as schedules tend to slow down after the holiday rush, and getting all your preventive care visits done early will help start the new year right.
Your annual physical is important for many reasons. It gives your doctor the opportunity to pick up on any changes in your health that could lead to the early detection of more serious conditions, when treatment tends to be more effective. They can also help you stay on track with any other health-related services you may need. Turn to them for help managing chronic illnesses, prescription refills, and referrals for specialty care and screenings based on your age and risk factors.
Your physical is also time when you can discuss any other health concerns you may have. From allergy care to early screening for hereditary cancers, medical advancements have empowered patients to take a much more proactive approach to their entire well-being, and physicals are the foundation of this preventive care.
If you’re due for an annual exam or want to squeeze one in before the year is over, schedule your visit with a SouthCoast Health provider. Appointments can be conveniently made online or by calling our office at 912-691-3600.
As your partner in total wellness, SouthCoast Health aims to help you take a proactive approach to health with patient-centered resources and comprehensive care. Schedule an appointment online with one of our award-winning providers, including primary care doctors and specialists, or call our office at 912-691-3600.