Monthly Archives: December 2015

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Three Ways to Fight The Winter Blues

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Many of us have heard of “seasonal depression” that can occur in the darker, colder winter months. While only a small portion of the population meet diagnostic criteria for clinical Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), many experience its symptoms, such as depressed mood, lack of motivation, or desire to sleep excessively. The winter blues affect us all in different ways, but there are some precautions we can take to fight them off. Check out these three tips for keeping the winter blues away. Untitled design (14)

 

  1. Stay Active. Keeping a regular physical fitness regimen in the winter is a great way to keep your energy levels and mood regulated. Instead of taking an afternoon nap, power through and hit the gym on your way home from work. Take a class at your local fitness or recreation center. If you don’t have a gym membership, buy a few different fitness DVDs and get into a routine that works for you. Exercise has been shown to raise levels of feel-good brain chemicals known as endorphins.
  2. Treat Yourself. Sometimes getting out of bed and showing up for your daily obligations can be a challenge, especially during the winter. Give yourself a reward–and something to look forward to–at least once a week. This can be a trip to the spa, a one-hour massage, or any other restorative, enjoyable activity you can think of.
  3. Learn a New Skill. Get your mind and body engaged in learning something new to fill your time in positive, productive ways. The sense of accomplishment we get from mastering something we previously had no ability to do is a great way to bolster self-esteem, too. Even better, make the skill something that will benefit your health. Why not try Tai Chi? This practice is a slow and graceful form of martial arts that has been shown to alleviate stress and promote overall health and well-being. Tai Chi is offered at many community and fitness centers, including at Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold.

 

 

These strategies are preventive measures against the winter blues. If you find yourself already falling into a winter-induced funk, request an appointment with the experts at Advanced Health and Wellness Center of NJ to learn how we can help.


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Warm Up With These Nutritious Winter Cooking Tips

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Winter cuisine cues up images of home baked cookies and hot chocolate on a snowy day. Comfort foods like these can take the edge off of harsh winter weather and seemingly endless days cooped up indoors. These winter staples have their place, but who can afford to let their nutrition veer off course for an entire season? Stay fit and healthy in the coming months by appeasing your winter palate with these enticing–and healthful–favorites. 46023672_l

 

  • Oatmeal: Recommended by health experts as one of the best ways to start your day, a delicious and steamy bowl of oatmeal is sure to lure you out from under the blankets. To give your oatmeal a protein kick, add a handful of your favorite nuts along with a teaspoon of real maple syrup to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Soups: Combat the winter chills with a variety of hot and flavorful soups. The possibilities are endless. Take a standard favorite like chicken noodle, but swap out the pasta for brown rice and throw in some extra leafy greens like kale or swiss chard to give your body an easy to make, nutrient-packed lunch or dinner.
  • Root Vegetables: Potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, and other root vegetables are a satisfying way to get your five to ten servings of vegetables for the day. Who wants to eat a salad in near-zero temperatures? Cut up some root vegetables and arrange them on a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper, cook for 45 minutes or until soft, and enjoy this delicious array as a side to a grilled chicken breast or pork chop.
  • Beans and Legumes. Not just the baked beans you find at a summer barbecue! Explore the wide variety of beans and legumes available and experiment with various preparations. Chickpeas match exceptionally with pesto. Try mixing lentils and quinoa with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Beans and legumes are a staple in many soup and chili recipes that are a great winter treat as well.

 

Don’t let the winter derail your health. To learn more about the impact your diet has on health conditions and your overall wellbeing, request an appointment with the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of NJ.


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Good Nutrition May Keep You Warm in the Cold Too

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by Christopher J. Tucker, MD

With the changing of the seasons and the accompanying drop in the temperature outside, many athletes flock to the ski slopes, the ice rink, and the mountainside seeking outdoor adventure and fitness. Exercising in cold weather presents several unique nutritional challenges. Taking a few simple precautions can help maximize performance and keep athletes healthy and allow them to safely achieve their fitness goals.

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What changes when the temperature drops?

When exercising in cold weather, your core body temperature tends to drop. In warm weather, it is generally easier to regulate body temperature, as excess body heat is removed through sweating. In addition, the body needs to warm and humidify the cold, dry air that you breathe, which requires even more energy (up to 23 percent of calories burned in cold weather exercise go towards warming inspired air). The caloric requirements of the athlete in cold weather are higher than what would be required during a similar level and duration of activity in warmer temperatures. This is due to food being used to fuel the body’s increased metabolism in addition to providing energy for the exercise itself.

 

Can I drink less water?

One of the biggest nutritional mistakes that athletes make is to drink too little water when exercising in cold weather. Cold diminishes the body’s thirst mechanism and athletes need to make a conscious effort to consume enough fluids. This is necessary to keep up with the demand of both exercise, as well as fluid lost when warming the body and humidifying inspired air. When exhaling during heavy breathing considerable water is lost during respiration. Dehydration leads to decreased performance, and physical endurance. It is commonly cited as the root cause of many outdoor winter sporting accidents and misadventures.

 

What should I eat?

Proper nutrition begins with planning ahead. Ideally, athletes should consume complex carbohydrates two hours prior to exercise. Warm foods are ideal as they can help to contribute to heat preservation. Foods such as soups, chili, pasta, baked potatoes, breads, bagels with peanut butter, or lean meats are excellent pre-exercise sources of fuel. It is also important to continue to replace carbohydrate stores being burned during exercise, to prevent fatigue and contribute to body heat. It is a good rule of thumb to bring along easily digestible snacks such as energy bars and gels, trail mix, sandwiches, or fruit.

 

For more great tips like this, check out In Motion, an official wellness publication by The American Orthopedic Society For Sports Medicine in conjunction with AOSMI.


Good health requires balance. Physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, pain management, and stress relief all contribute to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. At the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of New Jersey, we help patients struggling with weight loss, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other conditions using holistic techniques. Request an appointment and get started on a path towards comprehensive wellness.