Happy Friday Everyone!
Anyone else is excited for the weekend? I’ve got a great (and long overdue) girls night out planned for Saturday, so it’s needless to say that I am pumped!
Today I have a fabulous guest post for you written by Evelyn Robinson. She is a writer who works for one of the leading substance abuse intervention programs in the USA, Detox.net .
Detox.net advocates the importance of leading society towards a healthier lifestyle through the promotion of exercise and natural dietary alternatives, while at the same time helping those who are battling the demons of addiction.
Today’s topic is one that I feel a lot of people can relate to. Although there are some things that I like about the winter, my lack of motivation to keep up with my healthy habits is not one of them! Here are some great ways to stay healthy this season. Enjoy!
Five Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter
Despite fall and winter including some of America’s best loved celebrations, it is generally the season in which many of us feel a little lacklustre both mentally and physically. When the cold months set in, we tend to cut back on our physical activity and bulk up on warming comfort food. According to research carried out by Livestrong, the average weight gain over the holiday period alone is one pound – not a huge amount but significantly above average for such a short space of time.
Along with this, the cold weather and decrease of daylight hours can provoke an onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a condition, which according to Psychology Today, is thought to affect 10 million American’s with a further 10-20% suffering from milder symptoms. These can include depression, lethargy, lack of energy and consequent weight gain all brought on by the effects of the winter months.
And so it seems that despite Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving (or maybe because of them in some cases) winter can be genuinely bad for our health. Here are some tips to help you stay fit, healthy and happy this year.
During the colder months you may feel less inclined to go for a jog or make early morning trips to the pool, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your exercise regime break down completely. In a recent poll, results showed that 30% of people get no exercise throughout the winter months and this can have a detrimental effect on weight, immune system and general fitness. Layering up and heading outdoors for a brisk walk is a great way to stay in shape but if you can’t bring yourself to leave the house then there are still plenty of ways to keep fit indoors. With a range of yoga, dance, aerobic and fitness DVDs/interactive games you can work up a sweat from the comfort of your own living room. If that doesn’t get your pulse racing then a 10 minute lap up and down the stairs is thought to burn over 100 calories. Skipping rope is also inexpensive items that can be used easily within the home and with exercise releasing several of the ‘happy hormones’ in our brain, you could find that these short, simple work outs will improve your mood as well as your waistline.
During the winter months we often crave wholesome, stodgy meals that leave us feeling warm and full. These often come in the form of ‘calming carbohydrates’. They are known as this because they release the hormone serotonin in the brain which gives us a happy, content feeling. However, indulging in too many ‘simple’ carbohydrates (such as white pasta, potatoes, candy and sugary drinks) won’t provide us with the consistent energy we need – instead it can come in peaks and troughs. With very little nutritional value, they are also a sure-fire way to pack on the pounds through empty calories.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have a more complicated molecular make-up and therefore take longer for the body to break down. This gives us a more long-lasting, gradual form of energy that can see us through the day. Examples of complex carbs include fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads and brown rice which are also high in various vitamins and minerals. A hearty breakfast of warm, oaty porridge in the morning is a fantastic way to give your body a kick-start and feel full and energised all day long.
I bet you thought hibernation was just for bears, didn’t you? Well, not necessarily. During the winter months we naturally sleep more because the days are shorter and the nights are longer. Winter is a great time to catch up on our sleep and allow our bodies to repair themselves, regulate our hormones and keep us feeling happy and relaxed. Sleep deprivation is thought to deplete the body’s immune system and have a negative impact on mood and memory. So for someone suffering from SAD, getting a healthy amount of sleep (a recommended 7-9 hours per night) is imperative to help alleviate symptoms.
Protect Immune System
Medical research indicates that we are 80% more likely to develop a cold or bug during the winter. This is thought to be down to factors such as a drop in temperature and staying indoors around other people which leads to infection being easily spread. Because of this, keeping your body’s defences in good condition is crucial.
As mentioned, exercise, diet and sleep can all help boost the immune system but some other helpful tips may include drinking a lot of water which oxygenates the blood, clears the system and flushes toxins out of the body. Dairy products and vitamin C are also thought to be a good way to boost your body’s natural defences.
Hair & Skin
If you look good on the outside then you’ll feel good on the inside. It’s not just our internal organs that take a battering over winter. The alternation between cold, outdoor temperatures and frazzling, central heating can strip the hair and skin of moisture leaving them feeling dry and dull. Moisturizing is key so invest in a good quality cream and conditioner to help replenish the hair and skin’s natural oils and leave them feeling nourished. Never go outdoors with wet hair in winter as your hair can freeze and break off and try to keep heat styling to a minimum.
Thank you for all these great tips Eve!
Have a wonderful weekend friends!
How are some ways that you stay healthy throughout the winter?