Staying Healthy this Autumn and Winter
The summer has finally drawn to a close, and it’s now that many of us start a winter hibernation, staying at home much more, nursing steaming mugs of hot chocolate and hearty stews. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing that some of the time, health does start to suffer if it’s all we do. Here are a few ideas to make it easier to stay healthy over the winter months.
When it’s cold outside, it’s tempting to fill up on stodgy foods to help our bodies keep us warm. It’s true that we need extra calories in cold weather as we burn more than usual. However, it’s easy to let this become an excuse for eating badly, and when combined with lower-than-normal levels of exercise, that’s a recipe for gaining weight, which may be hard to shift come spring. To avoid this, up your fruit and vegetable intake rather than your intake of carbohydrates – not only are the calories lower, the vitamins are vital for warding off winter colds. Try leaving out or lowering the amount of meat you put into soups and stews and use vegetables to bulk them out instead – you’ll still get a warming, filling meal, but a healthier one. And always eat brown bread, pasta and rice rather than the white versions – you’ll feel fuller for much longer.
Exercising outdoors when the sun’s shining is fun. When it’s snowing, it’s pretty much impossible. Not everyone can afford a gym membership for winter exercise, but that’s no reason to become inactive. Get yourself an indoor exercise kit, starting with weights, a balance ball and a yoga mat. There are many good exercise books and DVDs on the market that will show you how to use them. If you’re short of money to buy them yourself, perhaps they’d make good Christmas gift ideas.
A good diet and a bit of exercise will keep our bodies healthy, but sometimes our minds need a little pampering, particularly as lack of sunlight at this time of year can be depressing. To get out of a winter rut, get out and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Things such as going for a spa treatment, booking experience days or going on a day trip somewhere new are all good ways to get out of the house and out of the habit of sitting on the sofa watching television every weekend.