During the colder months, you might be tempted to curl up on the couch and watch some Netflix. While it’s good to relax and have some down time, it’s also important to stay active and healthy during winter.
That’s why our LiveLighter team has put together their top six tips for keeping well when the weather outside is frightful.
1. Eat immune boosting foods
Our immune system is a beautiful and complicated thing – there’s no simple trick to “boosting” it! Making sure you eat a wide variety of foods from the five food groups is the best way to make sure everything is in top shape. Pay particular attention to getting enough:
- Vitamin C – it’s in most fruit and veg.
- Zinc- it’s in most animal products and many nuts and seeds.
- Iron – it’s in meat, beans and lentils and good ol’ spinach.
If you’re low in any of these, winter bugs may be harder for your body to fight. Here are some tasty winter recipes, which are packed with all the good stuff.
2. Drink plenty of water
Feeling hot is often a trigger for us to drink, but it’s just as important to stay hydrated when it’s cold. Keep a bottle in sight to remind yourself to drink water throughout the day. And remember that soups and cuppas count towards your fluid intake too! Use this handy dandy wee chart to see if you’re well hydrated.
3. Stay active
When the weather gets nasty, try mixing it up with some fun indoor activities! Trampolining, home exercise routines, indoor rock climbing, YouTube dance classes, Ninja Warrior-style obstacle courses and trapeze classes are all fun and (mostly) dry activities for winter time. An umbrella or raincoat and waterproof shoes will keep you comfy while you keep doing your everyday stuff like walking the dog and catching public transport.
4. Reduce your drinking
Alcohol can take a toll on our mood, sleep and energy levels, leaving us feeling more stressed and run down. Alcohol is also damaging for our long-term health, increasing the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease and certain cancers.
Not drinking alcohol at all is the safest and healthiest option. But reducing your drinking will also benefit you right now and you’ll reduce your risk of cancers and other health problems later. Get started with these tips.
5. Practise good hygiene
Being vigilant about hygiene will reduce your risk of catching something and help stop the spread of colds and the flu.
- Wash your hands regularly, and particularly before preparing food
- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow (aka “the vampire”)
- Throw snotty tissues in the bin straight away
- Keep your spit to yourself and avoid sharing cups and cutlery
- If you’re sick, stay home and keep the germs to yourself
We tend to get less sunlight on our skin in winter, which can lead to less production of vitamin D – crucial for bone health and general health. But remember it’s still possible to get sunburned in winter! Download the free SunSmart app and when the UV Index is below three, roll up your sleeves and spend some time outside in the sun. For extra vitamin D benefits, get moving outdoors. This is also a great mood boost when you’ve been cooped up inside all day.