Reading Time: 9 minutes
Winter is a season full of activities and excitement. It’s holiday time and along with New Year’s eve, that can be a really heady combination. With gift giving, family dinners and holiday parties, plenty of distractions prevent us from focusing on health and taking care of ourselves as we would generally do. Being demotivated to remain fit and toned during the winter season is nothing new. How to keep healthy during winter is the basic question in everyone’s minds.
With lavish meals causing diets to fall by the wayside, exercise becomes the last priority. Due to the cooler weather and shorter days, discovering the motivation to remain fit and healthy can be hard. This paves the way for a weaker immune system, and increasing chances of either being prone to diseases or injuries. After all, it is called the winter blues.
Cold weather also raises chances of falling prey to low energy levels. Winter wellness tips can help you at a time like this to remain fit, healthy and toned, even if it is the holiday season. These healthy winter habits will enable you to discover a healthier you and how you can boost fitness levels at the close of the year.
Keep Healthy During Winter: Exercise, Lifestyle, and Diet
While winter increases chances of illness and injuries, perhaps the biggest threat to our complete health is the inattention to exercise and diet routines. At the time of the holidays, we set about working to travel, plan a spate of gift giving and concentrate on everything, but our health. Along with the holidays, the chilly, bad weather can also come in the way of motivation to head to a gym or outdoors for exercise. Along with this, additional time spent indoors means all of our snacks more than our usual amount of rich, processed, calorie-dense foods. This combines with the inactivity to add on the pounds and lower self-esteem and happiness across time.
Exercising and regular diet control during the winters is critical to stave off diseases. It is estimated close to 20 percent of the American population suffers from flu and cold at this time of the year. Wintertime comes with a spate of cold and flu bouts more than any other season. Learn how to stay healthy in winter using these diet and exercise tips.
Maintaining proper diet and exercise routines is also necessary to ward off illness. It is estimated that up to 20% of the United States population gets the cold or flu each year. Wintertime presents a higher likelihood to develop cold and flu than during any other season. Here are some winter diet and exercise tips to show you how to stay healthy and fit during winter’s colder months:
#1 Cut Down on the Craving for Carbs
As the cold season approaches, there is a greater craving for carbs-rich, comfort foods. Once these delicious treats are consumed, it tends to lead to an increase in the neurotransmitter serotonin which makes the brain think one is happier. As the day progresses, carbs cravings get stronger. For countering this, a protein-packed breakfast is needed to maintain consistent energy levels across the day. During the afternoon, instead of consuming more carbs and sweets, you need to have low-fat, healthy snacks at hand. Find a way to increase serotonin levels sans food, if you want to remain satisfied and without loading up on carbs. High fiber foods increase satiety and can ward off weight gain.
#2 Add Healthy Fats
A healthy fat found in many types of food such as plant seeds, nuts, and fish is Omega 3 fatty acids. It also reduces joint pain and stiffness. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and it also lowers levels of depression felt due to seasonal changes and winter blues.
#3 Eat Mushrooms
There are many species of mushrooms with immunity-boosting benefits for improving health. Mushrooms come infused with natural antibiotic power. This provides them with the medicine strength to fend off illnesses. Stock up on shiitake or white button mushrooms and add these to winter meals.
#4 Stock Up on Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber is present in nuts, apples, and oats. It is an important way to lower inflammation and boost the immune system functioning. Soluble fiber is also useful for reducing cholesterol levels in the human body and helps in weight loss as well as warding off lifestyle diseases like diabetes. This is a winter health tip for those who need a high-fiber diet to safeguard the digestive system.
#5 Eat Enough Veggies and Fruits
Stick to primarily fruits and veggies that are orange and dark green. This ensures a healthy selection of sugars, nutrients, and fats. The various greens like spinach, kale, squash, Swiss chard, carrots, squash and oranges offering delicious and nutritious value at the time of winter. Numerous recipes are there to incorporate into a winter diet and save your health.
#6 Cook With Spices
Garlic, ginger, onions, and cilantro are items that offer value and flavor to your food. It makes food tasty and improves immune function. Spices like turmeric, a spice used in Indian and Chinese medicines, contains curcumin which provides curry its flavor and serves as a powerful antioxidant. It also staves off inflammation and heart disease.
#7 Plan Exercises in Advance
Sticking to a weekly exercise plan ensures regular exercise activities are followed. Write down the exercise schedule for the next few days. Select the specific workout routine, exercises or activities for each day and study how long they will be. Knowing the schedule ahead of the time makes it easier to adhere to. Line up workout schedules and get a professional trainer to examine your plan. Workout with buddies and stay motivated.
#8 Workout in your House
Plenty of resources are available online for a fun workout and awesome exercises. These resources offer amazing home workouts such as yoga, strength training, and body weight exercises like aerobics. Check out online resources to supplement your workout routine and exercise in the comfort of your home.
#9 Start Family Workouts
If it’s too cold to hit the gym, try HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) at home. Turn your living room into a home gym. Get your family to remain fit and toned during the cold winter months, without braving the weather to make it to the gym. Opt for strength/resistance training and cardiovascular exercises. Research shows that moderate intensity exercise is way better than long hours of gentle exercise. Try and couple a healthy diet with a healthy lifestyle.
#10 Wash Your Hands Frequently
Constant handwashing throughout the day is very essential for maintaining good health during the winter. It protects and boosts your immunity apart from preventing cold and flu. It also grants protection to others around you.
#11 Try a Relaxing Sauna
A steam room or sauna is the perfect place to kick back and relax whether you’re feeling depression or more stress. Work off tense muscles to relax so that feelings of stress can be alleviated. High temperatures in the sizzling sauna room can also help you to work up a sweat, which works out well if you want to detoxify your skin and your body.
#12 Try Vitamin Supplements
Consuming plenty of vitamin C enabled foods like lemon and citrus fruits to enable the body to battle flu and cold symptoms if these are experienced. Vitamin D also helps in contributing to good bone health experienced at the time of winter. Vitamin D helps to absorb vitamins like iron, calcium and vitamin A as well.
#13 Take Herbal Teas
Many different types of herbal teas can maintain good health. Herbal teas like chamomile and lemon ease anxiety and depression by calming nerves and easing tension from the body. This helps in sleeping better. Certain herbal teas like Rooibos and green are wonderful as antioxidants. For the most advantages, look for organic teas that are created from top-quality ingredients.
#14 Sleep Better and Longer
As the days shorten, the body will seek more sleeping time. It will also adjust the rhythm to the daylight hours. Longer evenings are for winding down and relaxing before bed. Going to bed as quickly as possible gives the body enough rest during times it is craved the most.
Lightboxes that operate on a timer can be a useful means of ensuring enough regulation of the body clock. This also makes it easier to wake up, even when it’s dark outside.
#15 Relax and Meditate
When one feels the winter blues, stress and anxiety result. Managing it in a healthy way is important. Go outside for a walk when the weather permits, as this can lower stress levels. Try deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation to keep your mind and body healthy.
#16 Be Sociable
Another important step towards remaining healthy in winter is to remain sociable. Local programs, craft fairs, ice skating, and parades abound during this period. After holidays, the activities and buzz die down. Reconnect with friends and plan winter themed dinners and outings. Staying social is good for your health.
#17 Alleviate Stress
Studies have shown high-stress levels lead to greater chances of catching flu and cold. Minimize stress by working for a reasonable number of hours at the job. Spend one night per week with friends and family. Taking out time for leisure is essential for beating stressors.
#18 Quit Smoking
One of the healthiest things you can do this winter is to quit smoking if you choose cigarettes as a means of relaxing. If you wanted to quit and tried everything else, opt for nutritional recommendations that can help you to quit.
#19 Try Essential Oils
Essential oils are a great way to ward off airborne bacteria and germs. Herbal oils protect your immune system and do a lot to strengthen the human body, boosting the immune system and enabling you to stave off flu and colds.
#20 Be Aware of Your Triggers
Certain processed and refined foods can feed heartburn. Typical dietary triggers include sugar, fat, and sodium. Whole wheat bread and veggies can be a good way to avoid dietary triggers.
#21 Keep a Food Journal
Another essential part of monitoring dietary intake, especially when it comes to junk foods, processed items, refined products is to maintain a food journal. This can help in regulating your calorific intake and letting you know how much is enough.
#22 Stock up on H20
Drinking optimal amounts of water is important. When the winter season arrives, consuming the right amount of water for health is critical. This also helps in eliminating and flushing out the toxins.
What The NHS Says
While it may be really cold outside, winter can be a healthy time of the year for you and your loved ones. Keeping fit and active is possible if one stays fit and healthy during the blistering cold. Here’s how you can ward off the winter chill and stay in prime condition, according to the National Health Service, UK.
Ward off Winter Blues
Most people feel depressed, tired and sluggish at the time of winter. This also results due to lack of ample sunshine, which stands in the way of sleep and waking cycles. So, the NHS recommends that going outdoors in natural sunlight as much as permissible may be an effective way out. The UK health body also recommends getting plenty of rest in the night and going to bed and waking up the same time each day. De-stressing with meditation or exercise is also crucial. Stress can make you feel fatigued.
Eat Ample Fruits and Vegetables
When it’s dark and cold outside, it is essential to stock up on food that is healthy. Stocking comfort food can be detrimental for your health. It is important to ensure that one has a healthy diet and consumes at least 5 portions of fruits and veggies per day. If you find yourself craving a sugary-sweet treat, opt for satsuma or juicy clementine. Winter veggies like swede, turnips, parsnips, and carrots should be roasted, blended or converted to soup for a delicious meal for the entire family. The NHS also recommends eating varieties of fruits and veggies one would not normally eat. Read about the best recipes for hot meals here.
Drink Adequate Milk
If you experience a cold in winter, it can turn into serious diseases like pneumonia. So take care that your immune system is up to the challenge. NHS, UK recommends milk and milk or dairy products like fromage frais, yogurt, and cheese which are rich in protein, vitamins A and B12 and calcium to strengthen the bones. Choosing semi-skimmed or 1 percent or skim milk rather than 100% full fat is advisable. You can also opt for low-fat plain yogurts.
Try Out New Family Activities
The cold months of winter can be a real excuse to lounge around and stay in. Instead, take the steps towards being a healthy and fit family by trying out new activities like ice skating, bracing winter walks on the beach or across the park. Regular exercise helps in controlling the weight and boosting the immune system too. This breaks up the tension of being stranded and cooped up in your residence inside the four walls.
Don’t Miss Breakfast
For those cold, wintery months, the breakfast which is hot and filling like a bowl full of porridge can be really satisfying. This is a wonderful way to commence with the day. The NHS also helps in boosting the intake of starchy fibers and foods. These type of foods build up energy and help a person to stay satiated for longer. It also stops the temptation of snacking in the middle of the morning. Oats contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. The porridge can be made using skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. No salt or sugar should be added, Add sliced bananas, berries or other fruits for additional flavor.
So, remain healthy and fit during the cold winter months and keep your body, mind, and spirit fighting fit. Choose these simple tips and pave the way for a healthier, fitter you. While gorging on creamy coffees and pastries may appeal to you, as the mercury plunges, bear in mind that you are what you eat. A healthy exercise regimen should also accompany nutritious food. The final aim should be to offer the best support to your body to brave the freezing chill with a healthy lifestyle to combat those seasonal colds and bouts of flu!