Winter is here and although it has been amazing weather leading into the start of the coldest season, it is only a matter of time until it gets a little colder. Winter is often given a bad rap as it brings with it the cold & flu season and those cold, dark mornings. However, with a little effort there is no reason for our health to suffer during the colder months! The following are my winter tips to help keep ourselves and our family healthy, happy and active.
While it’s a little harder to find the motivation to exercise when it is cold outside, remember that keeping active during winter is essential to support our health and wellbeing. Moving your exercise indoors during winter will help to keep you warm as well as fit and healthy. Be sure to spend time warming up before you start your exercise as it can take a little longer for your joints to loosen up in the cold weather.
As winter sets in it can be tempting to start eating more of those warm comfort foods that are often high in fat, salt and sugar. Instead, find comfort in foods such as warming and nourishing soups and stews full of flavour and healthy vegetables. Be sure your diet includes winter fruit and vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals such as green leafy vegetables, beetroot, kiwi fruit, mandarins, bananas, garlic and ginger.
Proper sleep (eight hours for an adult) can help keep the body’s immune system healthy and fight off colds.Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes as these substances can affect the quality of your sleep. Regular, moderate exercise, relaxation techniques and establishing a regular sleep routine may help to promote improved sleep.
The cold weather can affect our skin and contribute to conditions such as dry, itchy skin, chill blains and eczema. This may be due to the reduced humidity, drinking less water than you would during summer or possibly due to reduced circulation which may decrease the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin. Using moisturisers daily may help to keep the skin moist and supple whilst supplements containing vitamin E or garlic help assist blood circulation. If any of your family suffers psoriasis or eczema, try taking fish oils. These provide omega-3 which can help manage these itchy skin conditions. And don’t forget the sunscreen, it is important to remember we can still get sunburnt when the weather is cold!
Keeping bugs at bay
Wash or sanitise your hands regularly and avoid close contact with someone who has a cold. Keep household surfaces clean as well as kids’ toys when someone in the family has a cold. If you are ill, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, including water, hot tea and soup. Avoid alcohol and caffeine and get plenty of sleep. Supplements such as vitamin C, zinc and echinacea may help relieve the symptoms and reduce the duration of a cold.
Don’t forget to keep drinking water! As the weather cools down and our thirst decreases it is easy to forget to drink enough water. You still need to aim for about two litres/day of water during winter as it is essential for our body to function. If you struggle with plain water (like I do sometimes) try herbal tea. There are so many flavours available now that you’re sure to find some you enjoy.If you are worried or demotivated about exercising outside in the cold then why don’t you try our winter special and book in at your nearest studio. I guarantee that making your health a priority this winter will leave you feeling better, more productive and with more energy through the colder months.