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Keep energized this winter

Tips for staying healthy

— Stormy, overcast, wintry days can seem to drain your energy, leaving you feeling unmotivated to do more than cuddle up under a warm blanket.

Oftentimes, the shorter hours of daylight make us feel more tired and maybe even a little depressed. It’s time to look on the bright side the daylight hours are getting a little bit longer each day as we make our way through winter.

Cold weather doesn’t mean we need to fatten up, hibernate and then venture out in the spring. That behavior is for the bears. Get outside and enjoy Steamboat’s plentiful “bluebird” days and winter activities. Here are some tips to keep your energy high throughout the winter:



Try smaller-portioned meals rather than stuffing yourself at lunch or dinner. Eating regular “mini-meals” will help keep your energy level up.

Eat breakfast within the first two hours after you wake up in the morning. This will help fuel your body and get you off to a great start. Your breakfast should be a balance of carbohydrates, protein and a bit of fat. The carbohydrates cause a spike in energy; once that runs out, the protein comes in to pick up the slack. Some examples: A bagel and peanut butter, cottage cheese and fruit or toast, cheese and a V-8 juice.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Enjoy crunchy, “snappy” foods for snacks. This will awaken your mouth and your mind. Some great choices are apples, carrots, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower. Try dipping them in a tasty lowfat yogurt.

Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to drink lots of water in the warm summer months; however, we need to keep up this habit during the winter, too. Dry, heated air combined with the outside cold air can dehydrate you and you may not realize it. A headache is often a sign of dehydration. Tip: Always carry a water bottle with you. Try a lemon wedge in it for a “pepped-up” taste.

Avoid relying on caffeine to keep you awake. Water can actually energize you. Or go for a quick, brisk walk and you’ll come back feeling refreshed.

Exercise. Select an activity that you enjoy and stick with a routine. We humans are creatures of habit. Physical activity is a wonderful way to feel more energized and it also can keep your immune system strong.

Try snowshoeing, or get a comfortable pair of snow boots that you can use to walk the Yampa Core Trail along the river. Often the trails on Emerald Mountain or Spring Creek see so much foot traffic that you don’t always need snowshoes to walk the trail.

If you enjoy cycling, invest in some studded tires so you can still enjoy your favorite summer activity. When the cold weather dampens your desire to head for the hills, bring your workout indoors. Try an exercise class for fun and fitness as well as a good social activity.

Seek the light. It’s important to get a daily dose of outdoor exposure even if it’s only while you’re out doing errands. Your soul and well-being need light and fresh air to be energized. Most colds occur in winter because we tend to stay indoors more, increasing our exposure to sick people.

And one final tip: Remember to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging effects by wearing a good sunblock.

Lisa Bankard, M.S., is wellness coordinator for Yampa Valley Medical Center and the Yampa Valley Health Plan. Katherine Zambrana is a senior at Colorado State University and an intern with the YVMC Wellness Program.


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