Staying Healthy and Fit During Winter

Now that we are already in de middle of autumn and the days are getting shorter and colder, we may be less motivated to stay active. It may feel better to stay cosy and warm at home and sit comfortably on the couch with a cup of tea and something tasty. Now that the festive season is in sight again and all the winter treats are invitingly on the shelves, we will be inclined to grab more quickly for the tempting high-calorie delicacies. Yet it is very important now that the viruses are lurking to maintain healthy lifestyle habits. This way we can avoid getting sick this winter en we will be in rhythm of healthy habits when spring starts again.

In this blog we want to share 4 lifestyle habits that will keep you fitter and healthier during the winter season.We also give you tips to make it easier to apply these lifestyle habits to your daily routine.

1. Sleep sufficiently 

With all the family obligations and responsibilities at work and all other additional tasks and activities, many of us sacrifice our sleep to get things done. However, adequate sleep is very important for optimal health. We need good and adequate sleep for our immune function, metabolism, memory and learning performance. Long-term insomnia is associated with various physical disorders including infections, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Research shows that adults need 6-8 hours of sleep to function properly during the day. Infants, children and teenagers need considerably more sleep than adults.

To get enough sleep, it is important that you create good sleep conditions and that you learn good sleeping habits. This is also called “Sleep Hygiene”.

Tips

  1. It is important that you follow a regular sleep schedule. Although the sun rises later in winter, it is particular important to maintain a fixed wake-up time in the morning,. 
  2.  Avoid caffeine and alcoholic drinks after noon.
  3. Try to avoid prolonged use of screens such as laptops, your phone and other devices before bedtime.
  4. Try to stay active during the day and avoid naps if they last longer than 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Stay active and go outside! 

Sufficient physical activity is one of the most important things we can do to stay healthy and fit. People who exercise for half an hour to an hour a day get sick much less often than people who are less active. Not everyone loves sports and certainly not going to a gym every day. However, this is not necessary to obtain sufficient body activity.

You can split your daily exercise into short blocks of 5-10 minutes that you do in between all your other obligations and activities. For example, you can do your shopping on foot instead of by car or walk to work. Although it is cold outside, it is good for you to be in the fresh air. This way you can kill multiple birds with one stone: you move and increase your vit D production. Moreover, hiking outdoors is also good for your mood.

Tips

  1. A nice way to get your daily exercise is to take a walking tour through your city or visit nearby historic sites. You only need a pair of supporting shoes for this. You move, you are outside and you learn new things about your own city.
  2. You can also turn your household chores into an exercise routine. You can focus on household chores where you can burn a lot of calories such as vacuuming, cleaning your bathroom and changing your bedding. To get into the mindset you can also put on your sneakers at home and set up some music or an audio book.
  3. Something else you can do is join workouts on youtube video’s video’s. There are many healthy yoga workouts that are good for your body as well as for your mental relaxation. If you have a physical condition, always consult with your doctor first to find out whether the workouts that you want to do are save and suitable for you.

3. Keep eating healthy 

During the cold days we need extra energy to keep our body warm. That is why we generally need a little more calories than during the warmer days. It is very important to eat healthily so that we get all the nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats to stay as fit and healthy as possible. Loads of healthy vegetables are available in the winter season that provide us with nutrients. With various types of cabbage, sweet potatoes and pumpkin you can prepare tasty and healthy dishes. Typical winter fruits are the oranges, mandarins and pears that are packed with vitamin C and contribute to a strong immune system. We also get our fibers from fruit and vegetables, which help to keep our intestines healthy and to keep our blood sugar stable.

Tips

  1. Make fruit and vegetables part of every meal. For the children you can put a bowl of fruit on the table where they can grab fruit themselves.
  2. Try to use as many whole grains as possible and eat less of white bread and white rice. Avoid refined sugars as much as possible. 
  3. Cook with oils that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as corn and olive oil and peanut oil.
  4. Drink as much water as possible and avoid sugary drinks and alcohol

4. Relax

Just as the days are getting shorter and we still expect ourselves to get everything done, we can feel stressed. Stress can cause fatigue and weakens our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness. There are simple things that we can do to in our daily lives to reduce stress or make it manageable. You can pray, do breathing exercises, do yoga or follow a mindfulness course. Relaxation contributes to a healthy blood pressure, counteracts sleeping problems and can help reduce anxiety.

Tips

Consciously build in moments every day to relax. Focus all your attention on that activity and do not let (negative) thoughts distract you. Choose something that relaxes you, such as:

  1. Listen to relaxation music.
  2. Take an walk in nature
  3. Read a good book
  4. Smile and have fun

Make it enjoyable 

Adopting healthy habits and maintaining them succeeds better if you do something that you enjoy. You can adjust the lifestyle tips and advice to your personal preferences and situation.

We hope these lifestyle habits will help you stay healthy and fit during the winter season. Do you have any other tips and advice to get through the winter healthier? Share them with us via the comment section.

With Love and Care,

Farida Ben Moussa

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