Winter Health Tips

​​​It’s that time of year in Puget Sound – wet, cold and dark. And while this area has much to offer year round, winter can be pretty dreary. Which leads us to spend more time indoors than outside being active. Americans gain weight in the winter, which tends to stay on throughout the year.

Staying healthy during the winter season may require you to make a few changes. Before you visit a UW Neighborhood Clinic, review the tips below so you are ready to discuss each topic with your physician.

1. Keep up your vegetable intake

People who eat more vegetables gain less weight. While fresh fruits and veggies are less available and more expensive during the winter, we still need to make them a key part of our diets. This means we need to be more creative in getting our daily veggie dose and not resort to a meat and potatoes diet during the winter. Winter in season vegetables include:
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Squash
Research new recipes at your favorite recipe web sites, or check in with your grocery store produce manager for tips on the best ways to prepare something new. You will also find many of your favorite vegetables in the frozen food aisle. Search for healthy recipes that call for these vegetables like and/or

2. Exercise

When the weather gets cold and wet, people tend to slow down or stop exercising. Maintaining activity during the winter helps avoid weight gain, relieves stress and helps ward off the blues.

3. Get enough sleep

Researchers found that people who get less than 5 hours of sleep are 50 percent more likely to be obese than those who sleep 7 to 9 hours a night.

4. Treat the blues

Winter can bring on seasonal affective disorder for some people. Among other things, SAD causes people to crave carbohydrates as these foods can increase serotonin levels in the brain, improving mood. Healthier ways to treat the blues include increasing exercise, and light therapy. If those actions don't work, a trip to the doctor is recommended.

5. Avoid or reduce stress

Stress which tends to be worse in winter months can lead to weight gain. Every individual has a different way to cope with stress. Take time this winter to explore what can work for you.

Your primary care physician may have suggestions for you, too.

Call 206.520.5000 or contact one of the nine UW Neighborhood Clinic​s​​ to make an appointment.