How to stay healthy this winter
Winter is always a tough time to stay healthy. It’s a lot harder to get up and exercising when it’s freezing outside and all you want to do is curl up under a blanket. Our diet tends to suffer as well, especially with the heavy meals and sweet treats that the Christmas season brings.
However, it is far from impossible to stay in top shape during the colder months. You might need to make a few changes, but they’ll be worth it overall. Your health and mood could well improve significantly, and you’ll be surprised how much easier those cold winter mornings can become!
Make the most of the mornings
One of the problems with winter is the lack of sunlight. As the days become shorter, your body spends more time in the dark, which can be a major problem. Exposure to the sun is one of the main ways you produce vitamin D, and many people suffer from deficiencies in the winter due to the long nights.
One way to get around this is to get up early and do a bit of exercise first thing in the morning. You might not feel like it, but a walk, jog or cycle is just what you need while the sun is up. Many people find that this puts them in a healthy mood throughout the day, and they end up craving fewer sweets as a result.
You should also make sure you eat a good, protein-enriched breakfast to start off the day. Because the days are shorter in winter, you might find yourself feeling more lethargic than normal. Breakfast is a great time to fix this by eating plenty of protein for slow, steady energy release throughout the day.
Make sure you warm up
With the weather getting colder and wetter, you will probably want to move your exercise indoors to a gym or swimming pool. Whatever you choose, make sure you don’t launch straight into it without an extensive warm-up, or else you could end up with an injury.
The cold makes your muscles tighter and stiffer, which makes them more prone to injury. You need to take your warm-ups seriously in the winter if you want to make the most of your gym sessions, so a few minutes of stretching isn’t going to cut it.
Do some light cardio like jumping jacks or a jog, and aim for dynamic stretches like lunges rather than static ones. Make sure you work all of your body; it’s common, for example, to neglect the back and hips when you warm up.
Eat plenty of fruit and veg
One of the things most people dread about the winter is the influx of coughs, sneezes and fevers that it brings. Nobody wants to catch a cold and feel ill for a week, after all. You can avoid this by keeping your immune system in top condition so it is ready to fight off the viruses floating in the air this winter.
The best way to help your immune system is through your diet. Rather than buying a dozen vitamin and mineral supplements, just make sure you’re eating a balanced and varied selection of food that contains all the nutrients you need. In particular, make sure you’re getting enough fruit and veg.
This is the best way to get plenty of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium, as well as a lot of dietary fibre, which helps with your digestion. You should also aim to avoid stress in order to keep a healthy immune system, so meditation or other relaxation strategies can be a big help.