Winter Survival Guide for the BusyBody

    A few days ago I checked the RVA weather report and couldn't believe my eyes: we'd be having Michigan cold down here in Virginia. Now, I own a down parka, so I was not worried at all about freezing my tuchus off, but my fellow classmates, they have something to learn about layering.

    I'm used to cold weather: to pushing myself to walk 20 minutes to the gym after a 3 foot snow fall, to trucking it on a brisk winter walk in the park, to functioning as though it's not freeze-your-face off cold. But down here, everything seems to stop. People just want to stay in their warm homes and think their bodies will be just fine.

    Not so, my dears. Especially in the colder seasons, it's important to stick to your workout routines. The more time you spend outside (or in a heated gym), the less time you spend on the couch or at a desk with a bag of chips in your lap. So here are a few tips to keep on hand in case you find yourself freezing over along with the weather.

    1) Stay hydrated - it makes a world of difference: you have more energy, less headaches, and your skin looks nice and fresh, too.

    2) Wear sunblock - you might not believe this, but the sun rays can be especially powerful in the winter, especially if you live in an area with a lot of snow (white = reflection).

    3) Remember to moisturize. Think about all the heat in your house - it's sucking the life right out of your skin.

    4) Get your rest. Your body is especially susceptible to illness if you're stressed, malnourished, or haven't slept enough. So do yourself a favor and get some beauty sleep.

    5) DO make it to the gym as often as possible. If you find it harder to get out, change your routine a little - maybe sign up for more classes to force yourself to get there every week.

    6) Try home exercises. I personally hate, hate, hate workout videos. They are torturous for me, but they work for other people. If you like them, use them. If you don't, try your own floor exercises. Make it a habit to do X amount of crunches a day or reps with a set of weights. Turning these little "extras," as I call them, into a must-do will show positive results in areas you hadn't focused in before or covered with your regular routine.

    7) Speaking of home, read up on the immune-booster foods which are in season: dark leafy greens and basically any super deep colored fruit/vegetable is going to be good for you. Sometimes adding food you don't normally eat to your diet can seem like a treat in itself.

    8) Do weekly snack preps where you bag everything for the week ahead of time (I like a mix of pecans, walnuts, and dried cranberries). This way you can grab and go and know that what's in the bag is good for you.

    9) Go out for some fresh air. Especially in Richmond, it's easy to find a park or a nice area to walk around and lose yourself in the day. Just like you open the window to let out the stale air in your room, your body needs a little ventilation.

    10) Get in the spirit of winter! It's all about having the right frame of mind. Some people just hate the cold and I get that, but when I was in Michigan, there wasn't time for sulking: winter is about 5 months long! So brew warm mulled cider, visit an All Year Christmas store, turn on the fireplace ... do anything that will make you feel warm and comforted. You can't do that stuff in the summer, so take the time to enjoy it now.

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