The downside to breathing in crisp, fresh winter air is chapped, flaky skin. The key to preventing your body’s largest organ from breaking apart like Pangaea is to seal in moisture wherever you can. Use products that will provide a protective barrier such as lip balm and body moisturizers. It’s pretty important to monitor your skin throughout the winter because cracked skin can give bacteria the opportunity to invade and cause cold sores or other types of infections. Additional medical problems during school are without question an inconvenience and a total bummer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, so remember to continue using sunscreen throughout the winter since Ultra-Violet radiation will, sadly, never go away. A nice trick to figuring out when the sun’s rays are strongest is to check your shadow: if your shadow is shorter than you, then you should be wearing sunscreen or other protective gear.

It’s 2012 and you’re probably regretting all those times you procrastinated last semester (okay, every semester) and are now planning to snap those bad habits in half. A classic book written in the 1960s called Psycho-Cybernetics kick-started the popular theory that any habit can be made or broken in 21 days. Some people swear by it, but then again, there continue to be tons of other celebrated books on step-by-step programs teaching people how to break habits. Although there isn’t a vaccine that can cure bad habits, many psychologists agree that dealing with bad habits has to start by acknowledging their existence. Once you’ve got that down, you have to stay committed to changing them. This is where self-initiative as well as the gruesome battle between you and who you want to be comes into play. Sounds pretty simple, but if it were, the idea of new year’s resolutions wouldn’t seem like a joke.

If you want to drop a few inches, keep in mind that you have to make a lifestyle change. You’ve heard this a billion times by now, but studies have and continue to show that a healthy combination of diet and exercise can effectively lead to weight loss. Exercise and winter seem to be a bit of a loose oxymoron, but it is still possible to be active in the winter, even if you can’t make it to the gym. A recent article by the American College of Sports Medicine says that the key to exercising in cold weather comfortably and safely is to balance your body’s heat production and loss to prevent your body from both overheating and overcooling. Additionally, it is important to get rid of the popular misconception that you must exercise in the morning or else you’re doing it wrong. This claim is not true since exercising can happen anytime during your own peak hours, day or night. If you can’t get up at 7 or 10 am to head to Hart House gym, don’t worry — go when you know you will have the most energy and strength in the day.

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