Stay healthy this winter

Where did summer go?

As another summer ends, you may be dreading the long winter, and the perpetual bleakness it brings so many of us. For example – gloomy, dark mornings, bitter, chilly evenings, and a lingering, cough and cold – can drain your physical and mental health.

Although winter does have its perks – the jovial festive period being a case in point; for many of us – this simply does not compare to the beautiful, albeit – brief English summer. It could probably be agreed – waking up to a warm, light morning is preferable to a dark, cold one; furthermore, the longer, sunnier days can offer you a positive health boost, and an abundance of natural energy. This can be hard to maintain throughout the winter period, but fear not – there are ways of sustaining this sprightly summer vigour.

This article will discuss three effective ways to help you prepare and better manage your health, as well as feel more energized throughout winter. Exercise, diet, and mental activity, plus some of their benefits will be mentioned.

Exercise

You may feel bombarded with the benefits of exercise; with so much information now promoted to us online and through tv programmes. Surprisingly though – many of the UK population still shy away from physical activity. Some of the reasons could be – a lack of confidence, not understanding exercises, or simply no motivation or time to get started.

In addition, individuals may be suffering from injuries, health conditions, or just have the opinion that exercise is too hard; moreover, that it’s painful and involves joining an intimidating gym, full of fit, experienced members. All these reasons are perfectly justifiable, but luckily there are ways around them.

What are my options?

Taking yourself outside for some activity such as a walk or jog is a great choice, but you may not feel inclined to do this when an ice-cold lair of snow covers your doorstep. Fortunately – there is an abundance of information to be found online, including motivating, instructional videos. These are usually free on channels such as YouTube. All you need to get started is your computer or phone, and some space, such as your front room.

Whether you use your own body-weight to exercise or purchase some equipment – there is generally something out there for everyone. Maybe you feel inspired to join a gym or take up a hobby, which is brilliant, but this may not be a viable option for many of us with commitments and time constraints.

Stay active this winter and reap some of the benefits, such as:

  • Improved mental health;
  • fitness;
  • circulation;
  • posture;
  • concentration;
  • strength.

Diet

For many of us – understanding good nutrition is an ongoing struggle; thus, creating a minefield of confusion regarding what choices we should make. As previously mentioned, you can easily become overwhelmed with information; nutrition being a subject that leaves many of us with mixed feelings and opinions.

It could probably be agreed though – a healthy whole foods diet including fruits and vegetables will have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. This is especially beneficial throughout the winter months, when you may be feeling run down. For many of us during winter, we may feel more inclined to eat highly calorific ‘comfort’ foods; as a result, this could harm our long-term health.

It’s snowing – I don’t want a salad!

Cold, colourful foods may spring to mind when you think of healthy eating, and these certainly are, but there are plenty of tasty and more exciting options. If it’s a cold day – why not opt for something hot and spicy; fiery chillies, ginger, and garlic are not only highly nutritious and warming – they also help to boost your immune system. This is a benefit we can all afford to take advantage of throughout the cough and cold season.

You can also make typical ‘Sunday’ veg such as broccoli and carrots more interesting by adding them to stir-fries and stews. This can be a great way to reduce meat; therefore, becoming a healthier way to bulk up meals without leaving you feeling deprived. You may even prefer to switch to healthier whole grains such as brown rice if you currently use the refined versions. These whole grains can sustain your energy levels and help you avoid late-night snacks.

No good at cooking?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there – with a vast selection of recipes to be found online, or in cookbooks. Ensuring you keep a healthy balanced diet this winter will do wonders for your health, just a few benefits include:

  • Improved sleep;
  • mood;
  • gut health;
  • blood pressure;
  • energy;
  • weight control.

Mental Activity

Keeping your brain stimulated can also be a brilliant way to cope with the winter blues. For many of us – coming home after work and watching tv or looking at social media becomes routine. You may feel like this becomes repetitive though, and possibly want to challenge your brain in more interesting and beneficial ways.

How can I?

One of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to keep your brain active – is to read; not only will you learn new information – you can also get lost in an interesting and engaging story. You can simply read for pleasure or maybe even learn a new language, how to cook or discover your next travel destination.

With modern technology, it’s easy to read on the go or take advantage of the many free phone apps, which can offer you a wide variety of fun and challenging ways to keep your brain engaged. Some of the benefits of mental activity include:

  • Improved knowledge;
  • confidence;
  • mental health;
  • literacy;
  • stress reduction;
  • memory.

These are just a few ‘general’ ideas to hopefully inspire you to keep your body and mind active this winter when many of us feel demotivated. If you have found this article helpful, please take the advice on board and stay positive!

Thanks for reading.

A.T Hawthorn – 27.8.19

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