Winter: a time for cold weather and festive holidays. But, winter is also renowned for being “germ season” – a time where many bugs and illnesses spread much quicker than they do in the summer months. Keeping well is hugely important in the winter, as we are also at higher risk of feeling down due to there being less natural sunlight, which affects our vitamin D intake.
Why Do We Get Ill Over The Winter?
Many health issues and ailments are triggered or worsened by the winter weather, such as asthma and arthritis, but the common cold and flu are also spread much easier. This is because viral infections and moisture droplets stay around much longer than in the warmer months, meaning people are at higher risk of picking them up. Many people are also affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which makes us feel down and fed up.
There are some things we can do to ensure we are keeping our health a top priority and stay well over the winter months.
It’s hard to stay motivated to keep fit during the winter months, especially when the weather takes a turn for the worst and the days are much shorter. It is important that we keep active in the winter, so that we’re staying fit and looking after our muscles and joints. Try to do all that you can in getting out there and exercising, whether it be joining a gym, finding a local fitness group or even just getting out and walking more – keep your body moving!
Eat Seasonal Foods
From warming soups to soul-soothing casseroles, winter is a great time to enjoy comfort food which is both warming and enjoyable. There are also some great seasonal fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed in the winter, meaning we can load up on all the natural goodness. Avoid filling up on carb-laden foods, such as pasta and white bread and, instead, fill your plate with leafy greens, winter squash and seasonal fruits such as apples and pears. All of these fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins.
Protect Your Skin
Your skin can quickly suffer in the midst of winter, with cold and dry air sucking all moisture away from our skin. But, if you combine that with hot air from central heating, then you have a recipe for disaster – and dry, itchy skin. Try to keep as much moisture locked into your skin as possible using a heavy moisturiser, by drinking plenty of water and eating foods which are high in antioxidants, such as berries and walnuts. You could also take a high strength fish oil supplement to keep skin looking fresh.
Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule
Our sleep cycle is regulated by the hormone melatonin, which our bodies release in response to light. By exposing yourself to too much light in the evenings, such as that from TVs, electronic devices and computer screens, dramatically inhibits the release of melatonin, meaning that our quality and quantity of sleep decreases. Instead of using your electronic devices before bed, instead read a book or meditate. You’ll find you drift off much quicker and have a better night’s sleep.
If you do feel like your health suffers in winter, you might want to consider speaking to your doctor. They may look into prescribing things such as high strength magnesium to give your overall mood a boost or help you better manage your health.