The winter months and frosty weather can be tough on our bodies, so it’s important to look after them through the cold season. When your body starts telling you to hibernate, follow these top tips on staying healthy and keeping fit, no matter what the weather throws at you.
1. Get the right amount of sleep
People in the UK on average sleep around 6 and a half hours per night, which is much less than the recommended 7-9. In winter people generally tend to sleep longer, which is natural due to the longer nights, so use this time to catch up on your ‘sleep debt’.
2. Eat a good breakfast
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but this is especially true in winter when we use up our energy much faster. Eating a good breakfast first thing, such as porridge or oats, is not only delicious but also helps boost your intake of starch and fibre, helping you feel fuller for longer and avoid unhealthy snacking.
3. Drink more milk
Milk and other dairy products like cheese and yoghurt not only contain vital vitamins like A and B12, but also provide a calcium boost and help strengthen your immune system – handy in winter, when you’re around 80% more likely to catch a cold.
4. Change your toothbrush
One that seems obvious but is often neglected is changing your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold, flu, infection or sore throat. Germs can hide in the brush and lead to reinfection, and pose additional risk if your toothbrush is kept in close proximity to others.
5. Avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Around 6 in 10 people suffer from SAD when light diminishes in the winter months, according to the Academy of Family Physicians. To counter it, experts suggest you take supplements of vitamin D (which exposure to the sun usually provides), get plenty of
exercise, and even consider ‘light therapy’. There are speciality bulbs available to mimic the light of the sun for those suffering in the darker months.
6. Keep drinking
You’re likely to feel less thirsty in winter than in the summer months, but this can raise your risk of dehydration, making you more vulnerable to sickness and infection. Staying hydrated is always important, but especially so when infections and flu
out in force.
With all the germs flying around through winter it’s more important than ever to disinfect your hands regularly, as well other items you and other people are regularly in contact with, such as phones and keyboards. This can reduce the risk of nasty colds and flus spreading.
8. Eat more fruit and veg
When it’s miserable outside it becomes more tempting than ever to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but keeping your immune system fighting fit depends a lot on maintaining a healthy diet and getting your 5 a day.
9. Get moving
Despite the temptation through winter to bury yourself under a blanket it’s important to get a reasonable amount of exercise into each day, as this helps boost both your mood and your immune system. This can range from trips to the gym to a shopping spree involving plenty of walking.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle boosts your resistance to serious illnesses and can add years to your life (this comes in useful when you’re looking for life insurance, since the amount you have to pay is based on your life expectancy. A longer life = a lower premium. It’s win win!). Committing to living a healthy lifestyle now can not only extend your life expectancy, but has also been connected to overall happiness and enjoyment levels. So stay on your feet and on the veg and hopefully the winter blues will be a thing of the past, after all, living in the UK, we can’t afford to let the weather affect or enjoyment of life too much!