Staying Healthy This Winter
As the UK settles into the change in weather and prepares to wrap itself up for the incoming autumn and winter season, chances are you will be finding yourself on the wrong end of minor illnesses, especially if you are a parent. After all, kids do love to share, and chances are anything they pick up during the colder months, they will kindly share with you too.
Looking after your health as the weather changes are vital to help your body prepare for the onslaught of bugs and viruses that do the rounds at this time of year. So what is the best way to make sure you are fighting fit as the nights draw in, and the temperatures drop?
How many of us are guilty of craving carbs and fatty, comfort foods? As delicious as they may be, the winter lends its hand to overeating to satisfy yourself in the absence of sunny weather.
Try to pack more protein in your meals and reduce how many carbs you add to your plate. Balance meals with healthier veg options to help you still get the nutrients your body needs. Look for healthy slow cooker meals packed with veggies or switch from dying to grilling or oven cooked foods to eliminate excess fat from your meals.
Search online for tasty, but nutritionally balanced meals that appeal to the whole family. Check out your favourite food bloggers for inspiration for feel-good family meals.
While the general advice is to avoid too many supplements and get what your body needs from food, sometimes due to dietary restrictions, this isn’t always possible. Top up your meals with vitamin supplements to make sure you are getting everything you need. Vitamin D is a great supplement to add to your diet in the winter. Our bodies get Vitamin D from the sun, and the colder, darker days can mean less sunlight. Topping up with supplements will help your body get what it needs.
Keep Your Appointments
As the weather gets colder, most of us notice our days get busier with the run-up to Christmas. Juggling work, family life, and Christmas or other seasonal activities can lead to exhaustion and missed appointments.
It is so important you keep up to date with any appointments you may have with your GP, dentist, or optician. Failing to do so means you miss significant changes to your health that need to be looked into more.
It is easy to mistake headaches as a seasonal symptom from colds and flu-like illnesses, but eye strain from not wearing glasses or wearing the wrong glasses is a genuine issue with many people. If you are unsure how to pick the right glasses for you if you don’t buy from your optician, this website can point you in the right direction.
It can be very tempting to shrug off heading to the gym or skipping your run due to the cold weather. But exercising in the winter months is as, if not more important than during the summer. Exercise boosts endorphin releases, and endorphins are what give you that feel-good factor and your after workout buzz. We could all do with this type of boost in the winter, couldn’t we!
If you don’t work out, now is a perfect time! Many of us stay home more when the weather isn’t good, and a classic British winter means a lot of bad weather. Couple this with ongoing COVID restrictions, and before you know it, you have spent most of the year at home.
Start with something small and easy that doesn’t take up too much time. Yoga and pilates are great places to start, as a low impact HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts that will work all of your body in a short amount of time. Remember, go at your own pace and don’t judge your beginning with someone else’s middle! Work out when you should do your workout and set a schedule to stick to even if it is just 10 mins 5 times a week. That is nearly an hour of exercise you weren’t doing before.
Wash Your Hands
If you weren’t adept at frequent hand washing before, you need to be come winter. The UK government has worked hard to push through the message of making sure you wash your hands regularly, and this rings true for other nasty illnesses that do the rounds at this time of year. Washing your hands correctly, including palms, fingers, back of hands, and in between fingers for at least 20 seconds, will kill any germs lingering on your hands. It is simple but effective.
Keep a supply of tissues, hand wipes, and hand cleaning gel to help you clean your hands regularly when out and about.
Drink plenty of fluids, including water and milk. Milk is full of protein, Vitamins A and B12, and of course, calcium. Water helps our body to repair and run as it needs to every day. Becoming dehydrated can lead to low energy levels, inability to focus, dry skin, increased appetite, and irritability. Drink little and often to stay hydrated throughout the day as opposed to drinking a lot at once.
As tempting as it is to hit snooze after a late night, trying to keep to a regular set bedtime and wake up time will help you banish the winter blues and regulate your body clock. Sleep is essential for our bodies to process that day and prepare for the next day. You need to make sure you are getting around 8 hours a night, if possible, for a more refreshed sleep.
If you have trouble drifting off of a night, it may be worth putting a sleep routine in place to help your body wind down and prepare for sleep. Use a lavender room spray, turn off electronics, set the right temperature for you to sleep and turn down lighting or turn lights off. Some find a relaxing bath or a workout in the few hours before bed helps them to sleep better.