Winter gets a bad rap. It's cold, it's dark, and many people get a little low and feel less energetic during these frigid few months of the year. That being said, there are a lot of myths about cold weather that I think we need to dispel, my friends, in the name of actually trying to enjoy these colder days, and using them as a time for both activity and reflection.
Now, an interesting fact about winter that, IMO, works in its favor, is that during the month of January, the Earth reaches a point in its rotation where it is actually closer to the sun than it is all year long. Interesting, right? The drop in temperatures during the winter season is a result of the way the Earth is tilting on its axis. Personally, I like to think the Earth's proximity to that glowing red orb in the sky means that winter is a time when we're actually gaining more energy, rather than losing it.
With that in mind, here are a few commonly held cold weather myths you can ditch for good, in favor of creating a lovelier and more factually based relationship with a time of year many consider to be the most challenging and mysterious. Heck, once you let go of those old beliefs about the cold, it might actually become your favorite season. One can dream, right?
Sure, maybe it takes a little more effort to get out there when there's snow on the ground or a chill in the air, but winter weather doesn't have to put a kibosh on your whole exercise routine. The weather might just change what it is exactly that you do for your workout. Hot yoga, for example, feels wonderful when it's frigid outside. Or maybe a long walk with your pup — with both of you all wrapped in more layers than you can count — is just what the doctor ordered.
The cold weather can also present the perfect opportunity to try a winter sport you've never dabbled in before. Might there be an snowboarder or figure skater hidden inside you, just waiting to rise to the surface? There's only one way to find out!
While it's certainly true that winter can be a time when many people's bodies and minds experience negative effects of the seasonal shift and change in light, — which may lead to a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder — not everyone gets the blues during this time of year. Some people actually enjoy wintertime, and look forward to it for all the coziness, winter sport opportunities, or simply because they like the way it looks outside.
If you're one of these people, I salute you, and if not, think about incorporating winter activities that might perk up your spirits a bit, like starting a book club with friends, or checking out a new dance class. At the risk of sounding cheesy, there really is always a bright side to everything.
Not so fast on putting away that SPF, my friends. Just because you aren't playing volleyball in your Speedo, or spending quite as much time outside in general, doesn't mean you should stop slathering on the sunscreen.
Your exposed skin is just as likely to be affected by those UV rays in the cold as it is when you're bouncing around in the sun.
Yes, friends, hard as it may be to believe, you are just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as you are in the summer. Technically speaking, a one to two percent drop in hydration is all it takes for you to be considered dehydrated, and this is just as likely to happen in winter weather as it is during warmer months.
Dr. Ralph E. Holsworth, director of clinical and scientific research for Essentia Water and medical director of Southeast Colorado Hospital, told CNN,
In a dry or high-altitude setting, you can have sweat turn right into vapor instead of forming on the skin.
Basically, it can be more difficult to tell that you're losing water when you're moving about in the cold, but the fact is, you are, indeed, still losing water. So keep that refillable bottle on you at all times, people!
If it's cold out, keep the exposed parts covered, right? It's a pretty good rule of thumb, but there is that rather pervasive rumor that all, or at least most, of your heat is lost through your head.
Consider that myth debunked: Your head and chest are parts of the body that are simply more sensitive to changes in temperature. Studies actually show that, in reality, only about 10 percent of your body heat is lost through your head.
While there is some data to back up the notion that people get sick more frequently during the winter season, you're not necessarily 100 percent safe from getting the flu when the flower buds start growing again. And yes, while it might be more unlikely that the illness you have in the summertime is influenza, it's not totally impossible.
Let the truth about winter reign! Now, go enjoy yourself out there, no matter how cold it is. Just, you know, wear some sunscreen, and maybe a scarf or two.