If you find that winter is a difficult time of year to stay fit and healthy, you’re not alone!
I definitely find that the conditions outside make it much easier for me to stay inside and cosy up with comforting food or drink, rather than go for the run that I promised myself I’d do.
However, too much sitting around and poor food choices can lead to feeling mentally low, physically sluggish, more susceptible to illness and weight gain. By the time it comes to spring you’re left with loads of hard work to do to get back to feeling your best.
So, here are some of the things you can do to help you maintain your routine and continue to feel fit and well during the winter months.
- Choose to do exercise with the least barriers for you. E.g. If doing something at home is easier than dragging yourself to the gym in the dark, or if outdoor exercise isn’t so appealing during the winter – organise a fitness space at home. You can then use it to do your homework plans or you can download yoga/fitness apps to follow. Have a think about what your barriers are and how you can remove or reduce them. Doing so may mean your winter fitness plan looks totally different to your summer one- but that’s ok as long as you can keep moving regularly!
- Find a fitness buddy to exercise with throughout the winter. It makes exercise more enjoyable and because it’s harder to let others down, you’ll be more likely to do it even when you don’t feel like it.
- Be prepared, especially If you intend to do outdoor exercise. Invest in thermal layers, waterproof coats and hats and gloves that are breathable whilst keeping you cosy. Oh, and If you intend to do exercise- put out your clothes and trainers ready the day/night before. It’s a trick that works wonders!
- Eat plenty of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, especially green ones! It’s easy to gravitate towards comforting, starchy, carbs like potatoes, rice and pasta during the winter and although there’s nothing wrong with these kinds of carbs, they are easy to eat a lot of and often have higher calories and relatively low nutrient values compared to other vegetables. By piling your plate up with things like cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks, sprouts, carrots, parsnips and red cabbage, you increase your nutrient intake and reduce your calories compared to starchy carbohydrates. This leads to better weight management, digestion, vitality and increased immunity.
- Make meals interesting by trying a new recipe weekly and keeping a stash of your favourites to hand so that you can make them regularly.
- Re- assess your sleep environment and habits. Better sleep leads to improved mood, concentration, weight management and general health. Since you’ve probably turned the heating on recently, establish the right temperature in your bedroom (cooler is usually better) and if you’re getting chilly, put your winter duvet on. Stick to a regular bedtime if possible and try to stay away from screens 90 minutes before lights go out.
- Re-discover baths! Perfect for warming up in the chilly weather and also great before bed to help you relax. Chuck in some Epsom salts for extra muscular recovery.
- Carry around hand gel to help protect you from catching bugs when you’re out and about and consider having the flu jab if you want extra protection from flu during the winter months. If you do get ill- don’t be a martyr by exercising through it. Rest up and you’ll get better faster so you can be back to exercise and work sooner!