Fall is upon us and every year it comes with cooler temperatures. Thus, the effects of cold weather on your health is part of the season, too.
Colder weather and your health
Cold weather can affect the immune system in some people. The drop in temperature is linked to a higher heart rate, a rise in blood pressure and an increase in blood sugar. Luckily, these effects are not significant in most people.
Also, the immune system can weaken due to changes in sleep habits as the temperature gets colder, too. With the shorter days, adjusting to more darkness can disrupt sleep. Additionally, less daylight during the fall months can make you feel sluggish and lead to sleep issues.
In warm weather, it’s easy to remember to stay hydrated. It’s equally essential in cooler months but often overlooked. The tendency to drink more hot beverages like coffee and tea can also contribute to dehydration, as caffeine is a diuretic.
And finally, feeling sore and achy? Yes, cold weather can be the culprit. As the barometric pressure changes, it affects pain in joints. Painful joints from colder weather can also lead to less physical activity.
How can you stay healthy during the fall months?
While the effects of cold weather on health are real, it doesn’t mean they’re definite.
To help avoid germs and illnesses, make sure you are washing your hands well and often. Handwashing can help prevent illnesses and is easy to do. When out and about, carry hand sanitizer for times when soap and water aren’t readily available.
Getting enough rest and regular exercise is important during the fall months, too. Good sleep and physical activity not only boost your immune system but also have a positive impact on your mental health. And if joint pain is limiting your exercising abilities, reach out to your primary care provider for help.
Finally, stay on top of your healthy eating habits. It’s common to gain weight in cold weather months from a lack of activity, being inside more and seeking out comfort food. When indulging in higher-calorie comfort foods, consider having smaller helpings. Also, add more in-season fruit and veggies to fill up on. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, too.
Learn about the health care services we provide at Mercy Health.