YOU VERSUS WINTER: SEE WHO WILL WIN
Take this quiz from Men's Health to find out if your get through to spring strategies are leaving you cold or sick, or tired:
1. You've been rushing from house to car to office and back without seeing the sun for days, and you're a little down. You should grab...
A. Five cups of milk
B. 15 eggs
C. A five ounce salmon fillet
Answer: A, B, or C - Each of the above will meet your daily need for vitamin D, which many of us become deficient in over the winter. Although we would advise forgoing the 15-egg omelet in flavor of the salmon fillet.
2. When you have a mild cold, you go to...
B. The kitchen
C. The yoga mat
Answer: C - as long as your symptoms are above the neck and you don't have a fever. Mild exercise on your own mat, in your own home, can help open your nasal passages and temporarily relieve congestion.
3. What's the healthiest thing to do apres-ski?
A. Not use the term apres-ski, under any circumstances
B. Sit next to the fire, as one does
C. Hit the gym to work out the muscles you didn't use skiing
Answer: B - Relax net to the fire it can decrease blood pressure, according to University of Alabama researchers.
4. The best way to warm up if you feel numbness due to mild frostbite is with...
A. A fireplace
B. A warm bath
C. A foot massage
Answer: B - Hit the bath. Overstimulation of the skin with hot water or intense rubbing as well as exposure to direct heat can lead to tissue damage. Soak in a warmish bath 99 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 30 minutes, or until your skin returns to its usual color or loses its numbness.
5. It's freezing in here. Do you turn up the heat or grab a sweater?
A. Crank it up
B. Wrap it up
Answer: B - Putting on a chunky knit is a double play. You trim your heating bill and maybe your circumference, too. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that men who slept at 66 degrees Fahrenheit had a 42 percent increase in brown-fat volume compared with when they slept at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Brown fat is a potentially "good guy" type of body fat that can help burn calories.
6. What happens when you drag yourself out for a chilly morning run?
A. Your 10K time gets faster
B. Your 10K time gets slower
C. You can't wait to get home
Answer: A - Your heart rate will be lower in cooler weather than on scorching midsummer runs since your heart doesn't have to work so hard to regulate your temperature. That means better race times.
7. If seasonal affective disorder makes you want to scarf down carbs, the best time to eat them is...
A. First thing in the morning
B. At dinnertime
C. All the time
Answer: B - Carbs boost the activity of feel-good brain chemicals and can offset depressive symptoms. Concentrating your intake in the evening may support sleep, unless you're getting those carbs from potpie crust or French toast or potpie crust French toast, in which case you have a different set of problems. Keep your mood and your body feeling great at the same time by getting nighttime carbs from brown rice, sweet potatoes, and other whole foods.
8. The best thing to cover when you go to sleep on a cold night is...
A. Your head
B. Your feet
C. Your webcam, because who knows
Answer: B - At night, blood vessels in your extremities dilate as part of getting you ready for sleep. Socks may help your body get to its nighttime state faster: In one study people wearing socks fell asleep 7 and a half minutes faster and slept 32 minutes longer than when they slept sans socks.
9. Where should you put the blame for how tight your pants are this month?
A. The gym membership you used exactly once since October
B. Playoff wings, Super Bowl wings, Pro Blow wings, checking-Gronk's Instagram wings
C. Winter itself
Answer: A, B, and C. Sure, winter so far has probably included more calories and less exercise. But a lack of sunlight could also be packing on pounds. A Canadian study found that insufficient sunlight may inspire you to store fat. Try at least getting out at lunch.
10. A mug of mulled wine could sink your risk of a cold by...
A. 10 percent
B. 20 percent
C. 30 percent
Answer: C - Consuming flavonoids, compounds found in red wine and in may fruits and vegetables, could reduce your risk, of catching a cold by about 30 percent, according to a study from New Zealand. Flavonoids are thought to boost immune function. Of course, washing your hands also helps slash the risk.
How many did you get right?
0 to 3 - Let's get you next to the fire which we've set up outside in the sun and bring some mulled wine. If your mood is as dark as the mornings, start your day with a nice, juicy orange: Its vitamin C may help alleviate the body's response to stress.
4 to 7 - Lean in to the cold, not too far. Escape your over heated home and strap on some snowshoes. Participating in nature focused leisure activities hiking would work, can enhance your psychological health and well-being.
8 to 10 - Can we borrow your socks? You're handling the big freeze, so let's put that bravado to the test: A PLOS One study found that people who finished their showers with a blast of cold water took 29 percent fewer sick days. Deep breath.
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