How to stay healthy through the winter

The+2018+Turkey+Trax+helped+support+the+Central+MO+American+Red+Cross.++Runners+from+around+the+area+raced+the+5k+before+beginning+traditional+celebrations.

The 2018 Turkey Trax helped support the Central MO American Red Cross. Runners from around the area raced the 5k before beginning traditional celebrations.

Molly Mehle

The official start of winter is today, which, at least in Missouri, means even more cold weather, sometimes snow and, of course, the holiday season.  Americans say their eating and exercise habits are worse this time of year. But some students are trying to buck that trend and have their own ways of staying in shape and monitoring their sweets consumption throughout the winter months.

“During the winter, I make sure to go to the gym a lot,” senior Lauren Smith said. “I try to balance my sweet intake with fruits and vegetables and how much exercise I’m getting. I count my calories and make sure to keep in mind how much I eat each day.”

Avoiding treats isn’t always easy. With Christmas cookies baking in the oven, the holiday season can be a trap when it comes to sweets.  For athletes, the cold of winter can mean changes in exercise habits. Runners sometimes change their workout to attending gyms so they can get physical inside as opposed to in the chilly wind. Other runners, such as senior cross country runner Zach Cook, don’t mind the temperature drop and maintain their usual form of workout.

“In the winter time I try to run more. I usually put in about 40-50 miles a week, whether or not there’s snow on the ground,” Cook said. “It’s pretty similar to what I do in the summer.”

While Cook doesn’t mind running in the cold air, the same doesn’t apply for everyone. Some people find that cold weather makes exercising indoors more practical. For RBHS coaches, they take on the responsibility of striving to keep their team members healthy and in shape for their season.

“As a coach, it’s important for me to keep my team healthy during the winter time for a lot of differnet reasons,” said Bruin Girls coach Nicole Clemens. “They need to be in school, they need to be at practice, they need to be ready to perform. Some of the ways that we do that in the winter are similiar to how we do the rest of the year. We place an extra emphasis on things like warming up, stretching, and really making sure their bodies aren’t being shocked from the cold of walking in at 6:30am to what we’re about to have them do at practice. They need to stay hydrated and get enough rest to fight off those gross germs that just make everything more difficult. We try to keep their bodies capable of doing what we need them to do at the same level as when it’s nice outside.”

Winter weather leaves the streets covered in ice making it difficult for athletes to take part in training. Photo by Brittany Cornelison.
Winter weather leaves the streets covered in ice making it difficult for athletes to take part in training. Photo by Brittany Cornelison

For people who don’t prefer exercising outside in the cold weather, there are other options. People can go to the gym or simply exercise at home to compensate for what can’t be done in freezing conditions.

“I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables still in the winter to stay in shape,” senior Bree Dobbins said. “Instead of running outside in the cold, I do a lot of abb workouts.”

A key to staying healthy throughout the taunting sweets that accompany winter is simply to have them in moderation; there’s no need to avoid them completely when you can have them every so often and simply  workout. Being a smart eater is helpful during the winter time.

“In the winter time, I try to not eat that many sweets,” senior Micahela Logan said. “Sometimes it’s hard to stay away from holiday treats, so when I do eat them, I try to balance them out with healthy food as well. I drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. In the winter, you may think you don’t need to have as much water, but you do. I try to exercise a lot, even if not outside.”

Some sports have specific times of the year they’re in session; in that case, athletes should still focus on exercising during the winter if they’re not playing a sport during that time. Those involved in sports that last basically all year have that exercise to fall back on during winter.

“I eat sweets in moderation to stay healthy,” sophomore Megan Sherman, who is a Bruin Girl, said. “Luckily, dance is year-round so that helps keep me in shape.”

By Molly Mehle