With the days getting shorter and colder, it’s more important than ever to look after both your physical and mental well-being. If you struggle in the winter months, there are tweaks you can make to protect your health during these cold months, but if you do catch a cold it’s important to make time for rest and sleep to allow your body to recover naturally!
Below are some of my top tips for staying healthy this winter!
Take a Vitamin D supplement – As the sun’s UV rays are not strong enough in the Winter, we are not able to obtain sufficient amounts of Vitamin D through our skin because the sun is our main source! Oily fish and egg yolks are good dietary sources of vitamin D, however, maintaining the recommended amount of 10 mcg per day can be difficult daily. This is why SACN recommends taking a 10 mcg vitamin D supplement throughout the darker months (October – April) in the UK.
Eat a variety of fruit and veg – A diverse diet is one of the greatest ways to support your gut health and immune system. Fruits and vegetables are our main source of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C + E, which have antioxidant properties and play a significant role in the immunological response.
Don’t give up your workout routine – It’s no secret that exercising is more difficult in the winter, but it’s important to keep going despite the chilly weather and darker evenings! Moving your body regularly helps to lower the risk of infections and helps to boost mood too. Try to make it fun! Winter means there are fun activities that you can do with your friends or family like ice-skating, hockey or indoor skiing! But if you feel it’s too cold for you, there are many fun workouts on Youtube that you can do as a family!
Dress accordingly to the weather – During the colder season, you’ll also have to think about wrapping up as nothing quite beats a brisk winter’s walk in the fresh air; whether it’s on your lunch break or with friends on a weekend, walking is one of the best things that you can do for your health.
Include probiotics – Promising research suggests that probiotics may support our immune function and help our bodies to fight off unwanted colds! Probiotics are live bacteria found naturally in live-cultured yoghurts (kefir), fermented beverages (kombucha), and fermented foods such as cabbage (sauerkraut), which is excellent in a salad! Probiotics perform best in a fibre-rich environment, so don’t forget to eat your whole grains (make sure your cereal or bread is a whole grain!).
Get enough sleep – Sleep allows your body to regenerate and recover. Sleep deprivation makes you significantly more susceptible to illness. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. For better sleep, you can try to practice mindfulness or yoga.
Keep hydrated – Aim for at least eight 200ml glasses or 1.6 litres of fluids every day. However, these are only estimations and you will need to drink more if you are exercising/it’s hot outside, i.e. if you sweat more. Keep a bottle of water in your bag or at your desk while you’re working. It will serve as a reminder to drink before becoming too thirsty. Bottles with a time mark can do the trick too! While tea and coffee can have a modest diuretic effect, there is always a net fluid gain due to the water that you consume with it. Remember soups and herbal teas count too!
🤔 How do you stay fit & well in winter?!