Hello everyone, how many of you madeÂ New Year’s resolutions to become healthier and fitter? Thought so! It always surprises me that we choose to improve just as winter hits and the nights draw in, bringing poor weather and coughs and colds along with it. Itâ€™s almost as if we are deliberately setting ourselves up to fail!
DuringÂ winter, motivation tends toÂ drop and asÂ we naturally exercise less and this can take a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing. So, if youâ€™re like me and not one of lifeâ€™s Olympians, what steps can you take during the winter months to keep mind and body in tip-top condition?
1. Boost your immunity. Winter is the prime time for coughs and colds, so make sure you eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and fruit that is packed with vitamin C.
2. Get Outdoors: Going outside may be the last thing you want to do when the weather’s miserable, but your body needs sunlight to create vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Your body can create vitamin D from the action of the sun on your skin, even on a cloudy day.
3. Watch your appetite. The shorter days affect our internal body clock. This system tells us when we feel tired, when we wake up and when we feel hungry. Scientists have found that lack of daylight causes an increase in appetite, so make sure you indulge those cravings with healthier foods.
4. Stay hydrated. You may not relish water in the colder weather but there is nothing better to boost performance and fight off infection. Drink water regularly throughout the day. Research suggests that the majority of British adults are dehydrated and a loss of just 2% in hydrationlevels can reduce concentration by 20%, motor speed by 15%, arithmetic ability by 10% and short term memory by 13%. Drinking more water will significantly improve your performance and health. The recommended intake is about 1.8 to 2 L per day for an adult.
5. Enjoy sleep. Bright sunshine and warm weather are wonderful but not when you’re trying to get a good sleep. The cooler, darker nights make it easier to sleep and stay snoozing so take advantage.
7. Watch your mood. The lack of sunshine and daylight can have a profound effect on your emotions. Some experience low mood, irritability and lack of energy during autumn and winter. Exercise is another good way to boost mood because it releases your body’s natural feel-good hormones. If you can’t seem to shake the winter blues, talk to your doctor.
8. Stay active. Dry, sunny days are perfect for walking but in cold weather your body burns more calories just to keep warm, making activity more effective. Gyms and leisure centres are also great for fitness in the winter months
9. Take care of your skin. Wind, rain and central heating can play havoc with your skin, leaving it dry and flaky. UV rays can still penetrateÂ the skin on cloudy days, use a moisturiser with an SPF 15 to avoid wrinkles and yes that advice is for you men too!
So there you have it, nice and simple – Iâ€™ll be trying this myself, especially the moisturiser tip! Â Good luck whatever you choose to do and donâ€™t forget to say hello if you pass me whilst Iâ€™m jogging in the park.