Staying healthy in winter may seem like an impossible task, but with our useful tips, you can easily combat the season. Keeping up with healthy eating habits and making time for exercise are simple yet effective measures that will give you that feel-good summer feeling even when the weather outside is frightful.
The importance of staying healthy in winter
As a trusted medical agency, we are a team of experts in all things health-related, including healthcare jobs. So, whether you dread the cold weather every year, or winter is your all time favourite season, our best piece of advice is to be prepared. In order to fully embrace the winter, you should know about all the common health problems that are triggered or worsened during this time and how to effectively avoid them. It should also be noted that some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, meaning extra precautions should be taken during the winter season. Those who should take extra care of their health during winter include:
- People ages 65 and older
- Babies and children under the age of 5
- People who have a long-term health condition
- Disabled people
- Pregnant women
Luckily, there are many initiatives in place which can help prevent you from getting seriously ill in winter. If you are 65 or over, have a long term health condition or are pregnant, you are entitled to a free flu jab, which may be administered by a locum nurse. As flu is one of the most common cold-weather ailments, even if you are not eligible for a free vaccination, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself. Simply washing your hands regularly is a very effective method to use in order to remove any dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop spreading them to other people. Getting a good nights sleep is also essential for optimal immune system functions and to prevent respiratory viruses. For more ways to keep yourself healthy during winter, keep on reading!
Calm your cravings
The winter season doesn’t just bring chilly weather and Christmas spirit, it also brings tasty treats that are almost impossible to resist. From chocolate selection boxes to festive biscuit tins, temptation is everywhere at this time of year. The cold weather makes these delicious snacks all the more appetizing, but it is important not to overindulge and instead, substitute with healthy alternatives. If you often find yourself reaching for the chocolate tin in the evenings because you’re feeling peckish, it’s time to revaluate your snacking choices. Instead of treating yourself to a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps which will inevitably leave you craving another, you should opt for a more nutritious snack instead. While granola, fruit and mixed nuts are all healthy and nutritious snacks, you may want something a little more warming during winter. Soup is a very popular wintertime comfort food as it helps warm your stomach, nourishes your body cells and is full of healthy fibres. Some of our other favourite healthy snacks include:
- Greek yogurt and mixed berries
- Hummus and carrots
- A bagel with low-fat cheese spread
- Toast with sliced banana and a little honey
- Apple and peanut butter
Your body temperature has a direct impact on your ability to fight off viruses and infections, so staying warm in the winter is imperative. Braving the elements is a lot easier when you layer up, so it’s time to let your winter wardrobe shine. As well as hats, scarves and gloves for those extra chilly days, you should also invest in some thermal clothing as they fight evaporative cooling. Keeping your house at the right temperature is also crucial. We recommend the area in which you spend most of your time should be around 21°C and the rest of your home should be at least 18°C. Hot water bottles, electric blankets and wheat bags can also be used throughout your home to keep you warm during the day as well as at night.
If you are an avid gym-goer, the outdoor temperature won’t affect your exercise routine. However, if you prefer to go for a run or a bike ride as part of your daily exercise, you may want to find an alternative during the winter. Thanks to technological advancements, you can practically have your own personal trainer give you a workout session from the comfort of your own home using a Wii Fit. The home video gaming system features a variety of cardiovascular exercises that you can complete at your own convenience. Some of the activities you can choose from including golf, bowling, aerobics and kickboxing.
You could even use the cold season as an opportunity to try a new winter sport. Ice skating or snowboarding/skiing are very popular as they are excellent for your cardiovascular health and help tone muscles. Alternatively, you could participate in other general indoor sports such as swimming, rock climbing and relaxing yoga.
Start everyday with a hearty breakfast
We are sure you’ve heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is especially true for winter. According to the British Dietetic Association breakfast at any of the time of year should include foods which are high in fibre, low in refined sugar and saturated fat and release energy slowly. Below we have listed some basic, but nonetheless tasty and nutritious, breakfasts that are perfect for winter:
- Healthy stuffed french toast
- Whole wheat vegan pancakes
- Avocado toast with egg
- Cinnamon roll baked oatmeal
- Cauliflower waffles
- Baked eggs with spinach
- Breakfast smoothie bowl
In the summer, it is much easier to stay hydrated as the hot weather reminds us that we are thirsty. However, it is equally as important to keep yourself hydrated in the winter as your body will still lose moisture throughout the day – through respiration, perspiration, urination and bodily function. In fact, exercising in winter can make you more dehydrated than in the summer due to the lack of humidity in the air. While drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day will keep you sufficiently hydrated during the winter, there are plenty of other options to consider. Hot milk with cinnamon is a simple beverage that is a popular drink for nighttime as it is thought to aid sleep. Another healthy, comforting pick me up is vegan white hot chocolate.
Another way to hydrate your body is to welcome a humidifier into your home. The winter means you will be using your home central heating system more frequently to remain at an optimal temperature, but artificial heat makes indoor air extremely dry. Humidifiers effectively increase air hydration levels by forcing moisture into the environment, which helps prevent/alleviate dry skin, eyes and nasal passages. Humidifiers are also thought to ease symptoms of a cold, sore throat or cough.
Making the most of winter
The colder temperatures and sometimes dreary weather is no excuse to keep yourself locked away in your perfectly heated home as this will be extremely detrimental to your health. By making sure you are wearing appropriate clothing when going outside, intaking a healthy diet and ensuring you make time for exercise will all help keep you fit and healthy during the winter season.