Healthy Living

10 Tips to Stay Healthy During the Winter Season

Now that winter is rolling around, so are the winter viruses. If you haven’t already come down with at least one cold, you’ll at least know someone who has one. Staying healthy during the winter isn’t always easy, so let’s take a look at how you can boost your chances of avoiding any illnesses altogether.

Book your jabs

No matter your age, catching the flu or even COVID will leave you feeling really poorly, especially if you have underlying conditions. If you’re eligible, book your flu jab and if you’re offered a COVID booster, take it.

Some people argue that these jabs make them feel unwell for a few days, and while that might be true, you’re better off with those symptoms than the ones that will come if you actually catch COVID or the flu.

If you suffer from allergies such as egg, speak to your Doctor to have them arrange a special jab for you at your nearest hospital.

Keep up with your medication

Your body has to work much harder in cooler weather to keep the blood pumping around your body. Keeping up with medication will ensure that your body doesn’t run into any problems as the cooler weather sets in.

For added convenience, consider using a blister pack pharmacy service to organise and manage your medications efficiently. One thing to note is that you should always take your medication on time, and at the same time each day, and you should use scheduling tools such as alarms and reminders to help you keep on top of everything.

The easier you make it for your body to function, the less issues you’re likely to run into.

Stay active

Many people struggle with staying active during the winter because the nights draw in quicker and the weather is less than desirable. However, not exercising could lead to weight gain, and obesity puts a strain on your body, heart and immune system as you’ll be unable to fight infections effectively. Not only that, if you do catch COVID you could run into more complications.

Stuck on ideas on how to stay active?

  • Go swimming (indoors, obviously). Swimming is an effective workout that uses many muscles in the body at once. Try going with a friend and challenge each other to do more laps than the previous time. You’ll soon notice your fitness levels improving!
  • Work out in your living room! There are thousands and thousands of workout videos on YouTube that will help you work up a sweat and stay in shape. Pop some music on and get moving!
  • Clean your home vigorously. Any kind of movement is preferable, and if you don’t like fitness videos or going to the gym then another solution is to really put your back into it when cleaning your home. Dig out your feather duster and dust high and low. Vacuum your home with gusto. Anything that gets your heart pumping will help.
  • Do some chair based exercises. If your line of work requires you to be sat for long periods of time, consider these chair based exercises to keep your fitness levels up.
  • Walk off the weight. If you don’t mind the cooler weather, wrap yourself up and go for a daily walk. Aim to walk further than the previous day.

Make delicious, hearty food

It’s normal to crave comfort food during the cooler season, but giving in completely can lead to weight gain. To stay healthy during the winter you need to make sure you’re packing in as many nutrients to each meal as possible.

The winter is the perfect time to use your slow cooker, and you can pack as many veggies, lean meats or fish as possible. Pop the ingredients in, switch it on, enjoy the delicious smells all day and then devour.

Another option would be to try healthier versions of the comfort foods you’re craving and make sure you serve fruit and vegetables on the side. The nutrients fruit and veg provide will help you fight off any illnesses.

Soups that are packed with vegetables are perfect for this kind of weather, and can help make you feel a lot better should you come down with a pesky cold.

If cost is an issue when it comes to buying fresh ingredients then there are plenty of cheaper alternatives such as: 

  • Buying the “wonky” version of the fruit or veg. They’re perfectly fine, just misshapen and cost way less.
  • Buy tinned veg that will last in your cupboards for months
  • Buy frozen veg to quickly cook through for added nutrients in every meal

Stay warm

With the cost of living continuously rising, many people are worried about how they’re going to stay warm during the winter months. First things first, during cooler weather, stay indoors as much as possible. Secondly, rather than heating your whole home, heat the main room(s) that you and your family use. Typically this would be the living room and bedrooms. Heat from cooking in the kitchen should keep the kitchen warm too, so spending time in the kitchen could be another option.

Rather than turning up the thermostat, consider using electric blankets, hot water bottles and halogen heaters. They’re much cheaper to run and will do the job nicely.

If you spend a lot of time indoors during the day, try to move around as much as possible. This will raise your internal heat and keep you warm, and also boost your mood and energy levels.

If you do have to spend a significant amount of time outside, be sure to wrap up with layers and protect your hands and head with a hat and gloves. Being too cold will use up your body’s stored energy which in turn could cause hypothermia, a potentially fatal illness.

Keep an eye on your mental health

It’s easy to feel a little down in the dumps during the winter due to the shorter days and darker nights. Not only that, if you’re inside more to avoid the cold you won’t be getting enough Vitamin D from the sun, which can also contribute to low mood.

If the sun is out, try and take a brief walk early on in the day to get that boost of Vitamin D you need. If it’s grey or raining, it’s recommended to take a daily dose of Vitamin D to help prevent low moods.

Managing your mental health is particularly important during the winter because hormonal changes can affect your immune system and increase your blood pressure. Not only that, these changes make us more susceptible to reach for junk food and drinks, and even alcohol.

The winter can leave many people feeling isolated and stressed, so if you’re noticing a low mood on a regular basis or you’re struggling in any way, visit your Doctor for help.

Take vitamins

Speaking of vitamins, it’s a good idea to take daily vitamins to help your immune system fight off anything that comes your way. Because the colder weather uses up more of your stored energy, your body needs all the help it can get.

Taking a multivitamin each day will help, but if you’re unsure, speak to your Doctor or pharmacist to see which vitamins they recommend you take.

Drink enough water

We’re more likely to keep refilling our water bottles in the summer because it’s warmer and you can feel the effects of dehydration much faster. In the winter we tend not to feel as thirsty and therefore don’t drink enough. Water is so important for staying hydrated, flushing out toxins and improving digestion and sleep. So, make sure you’re drinking enough! If you struggle, consider a time-stamped water bottle for extra motivation and turn it into a daily challenge!

Watch your weight

Briefly mentioned earlier, being overweight is not good for the body anyway, but especially during the winter. If you’ve packed on a few pounds, or you’ve been meaning to shift your extra weight, now is the time to do something about it.

Eat meals packed with low-calorie high-nutrient foods, and watch out for your portion sizes! It’s easy to have another scoop of potato or a few extra sausages, but this will inevitably hinder your mission.

Avoid sugary fizzy drinks too. While they’re comforting and taste incredible, they’re not doing any favours for your waistline – or your teeth. Switch to the zero version or stick to water.

Being mindful of what you’re eating and drinking paired up with moving around more will soon trim you back into shape. 

Don’t isolate yourself

Finally, don’t isolate yourself! We all need human connection, but sometimes the weather can make it more difficult to get out and about as much. If you live alone, make as much effort as possible to speak to a few people each day, even if that means going for a brisk walk to the shops. Call your loved ones that you can’t visit regularly and stay in touch. Loneliness can be devastating! Keep in touch!

Karla Urwitz
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