Five healthy winter tips
Here are five tips to stay fit, have a good morale and enjoy every moment of your winter.
1. Get fresh air
Go play outside! Whatever the activity—walking, skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sliding—the crisp winter air invigorates and delivers a host of benefits:
- Fills you up on vitamin D
Vitamin D helps is key to good health since it helps the body absorb calcium and potassium for strong teeth and bones. Exposing your face and hands to the sun for 15 minutes, 2-3 times a week, provides your body with the weekly dose of vitamin D it needs.
- Keeps your spirits soaring high
When you exercise, your body releases “feel-good” hormones called endorphins. These will help you find your happy place and can even bring about a sense of euphoria. Short 20-30-minute walks are all it takes.
- Tones your figure
Exercising in cold weather helps burn more calories because the body works harder to maintain its core temperature.
Airing out your home also provides fresh air and chases away germs. So open your windows every now and then for a few minutes.
2. Gear up
If just thinking about winter gets you shivering, you might want to invest a little in warm clothing and quality gear.
Dressing in layers is key to staying warm and cozy during outside activity. Add or remove a layer for the comfort and protection you need based on the weather and how active you plan to be.
The most important thing is to break the wind and stay dry. Avoid cotton since it absorbs moisture if you sweat and can quickly make you feel chilled. Polyester or polypropylene are the better choices as these breathable fabrics force moisture to pass through their fibres.
Keep your extremities warm:
- Wear socks that breathe well, in merino wool or polyester, and choose boots that are quick to dry.
- Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves.
- Avoid wearing a wool hat. Or if you do, make sure it’s lined with a few inches of fabric inside—wet wool is so uncomfortable!
Don't judge clothes by their price alone: the most expensive brand isn’t necessarily the one that suits you best. Read the labels to see what they’re made of and ask for advice.
Finally, opt for lively colours to brighten up your days!
3. Exercise at home
Think of a few sports you enjoy and try them out indoors. Alternate to break the routine. Suggestions:
- Stationary bike: if you don't own one, get a bike mount and use your own.
- Yoga: there’s no shortage of yoga videos online. Finding something that works for you shouldn’t be a problem.
- Guided flexibility or strength exercises to feel coached: again, the possibilities are endless.
- Pilates: this workout corrects posture, tones muscles, improves flexibility, eliminates stress and strengthens coordination. It’s got it all!
And to spice things up a little more, try training outdoors.
4. Eat healthy
Healthy summer eating habits shouldn't fade away in winter. Stick to a balanced diet to avoid weight gain and stay fit.
Your diet should include:
- Foods rich in protein, trace elements and vitamins B1 and B2, which convert carbohydrates into energy: fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, seafood, beef and variety meats.
- Citrus fruits high in vitamin C.
- Fresh veggies and fruit: choose frozen or canned products if the variety you want isn’t available in the fresh produce aisle.
- high fibre foods to make you feel full: bread, pasta.
Drinking plenty of water is also important in winter for good hydration, but if you need to warm up, then heat up some soup or have a nice cup of tea or herbal tea.
5. Work on your morale
Still feeling a little down in the dumps despite your best efforts to play outside and enjoy the winter days? Maybe you need a little more light.
Luminosity affects the biological clock and production of certain hormones, including melatonin, the sleep hormone, and serotonin, which stabilizes mood.
Before your seasonal blues turn into Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), consider light therapy, which is a good alternative to antidepressants:
- Daily exposure to a 10,000-lux lamp for at least 30 minutes when you wake in the morning is recommended.
- Keep the lamp about 40 or 50 centimeters away from your face.
- Keep your eyes open for the retina to catch the light, but avoid looking directly at the lamp.