Do you go into hibernation mode when it is cold and wet outside?
Many of us find it difficult to stay motivated to exercise in the autumn/winter months, so don’t feel guilty about feeling that way – just try and make the change.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stay indoors or stop moving. Exercising in the winter has some surprising benefits:
Increases endurance – In cold temperatures, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, you sweat less, and expend less energy.
Burns more fat – Exercising in cold weather can double the amount of fat you burn. According to researchers, when a peptide found in our muscles (called sarcolipin) is activated during exercise in cold temperatures, it helps your body burn more fat.
Keeps you from getting SAD – Regular exercise can protect against seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People can manage or avoid SAD with just 30 to 60 minutes of exercise and 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day.
Here are some simple ideas so you can stay active in the winter:-
- Go for a brisk walk and layer up if it’s cold
- Try a jog or run (couch to 5k app is brilliant if you’re new to running)
- Try an online exercise class during the lockdown and if you have space – try doing it on your patio or in the garden
- Take the stairs as much as you can (or walk them twice in your house every time you go upstairs)
- If you’re working from home, remember to take regular breaks and try doing short, sharp bouts of movement outside (if possible) such as star jumps, lunges, squats, stretches or maybe a quick 10-minute yoga.
And remember with all exercises, if you’re unsure about your suitability or if you have any long term health conditions, please always check with your GP.
WINTER MAY ACTUALLY MAKE YOU HUNGRIER
Many of us start to crave more carb-heavy, heartier meals and feel hungrier once the cold weather and fewer daylight hours are upon us.
Some researchers suspect cool weather may trigger an evolutionary relic inside us to fatten up to survive tough environmental conditions, the way many other animals do.
But again, don’t feel guilty about this, just keep a check on your diet and follow some healthy eating tips.
Winter Foods You Should Be Eating
To satisfy both your body and mind, seek out comfort foods that fill your belly, warm you up, and make you feel good — but are also good for you,”
A great way to get more fibre-filled vegetables into your winter diet since you can toss just about anything into a soup pot greens, beans, lentils, whole grains, and colourful veggies. Add a lean protein, like chicken or don’t and you’re set.
While most fresh fruit is in short supply, winter is the time for citrus to shine. Easy peeler clementines are great to snack on, and you can make a great salad with some citrus and winter greens, like Swiss chard, chicory, or kale.
Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts
Another fresh find when the air is nippy: Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. These are incredibly good for you and great for roasting. Just toss them with a little olive oil and a little salt and pepper and stick them in the oven until they start to get brown.
Experts agree that one nutrient which is vital in winter is vitamin D. The limited daylight hours, the change in the wavelength of the sun’s rays, and less time spent outdoors means most of us aren’t absorbing as much from the sun as we do in warmer weather, and vitamin D has been shown to play a crucial role in maintaining mood. Your top dietary sources are fatty fish, like salmon (which also happens to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, another mood booster) and fortified dairy products.
If you’re going to give in to a craving — and most experts agree you occasionally should give in — watch your portions and, whenever you can, make healthy swaps. If you’re dying for a bowl of pasta and cheese, for instance, switch out regular enriched pasta for a whole-grain option and add lean protein to the mix, along with a few vegetables for vitamins and fibre.
If it’s a dessert you want, go for a steaming mug of hot dark chocolate, which has been shown to help reduce risk of heart disease, raise levels of healthy cholesterol, and be a mood booster.