Now that winter is well and truly on the way, it is an ideal time to make fitness & healthy eating high on our list of priorities. For the majority of us winter is a good excuse to hibernate into layered warm clothes disguising ever expanding waist lines due to overindulgence in puddings, hot chocolate and ‘comfort food’.
We can however, use the colder weather to our body’s advantage by kick-starting a health & fitness regime instead of waiting until the last minute for the warmer weather when we need to expose more flesh….Fitting into next season’s latest bikini or summer attire shouldn’t however be the only motivation to get and stay in shape.
Our bodies are finely tuned intricate machines which when exercised regularly and nourished with the best quality fuel will be in great shape and run much more smoothly always.
With the onset of cold weather there are a lot of nasty bugs floating around and boosting one’s immune system is extremely important. Because over 70% of our immune system is located in our gut and intestines it is highly important to address our diet particularly in the colder weather and at a time when colds and flu tend to fester. A good starting point is to take a good quality supplement of acidophilus to add some beneficial bacteria back into your gut. Eating a variety of fresh unprocessed whole foods and seasonal produce is a great start to increasing much needed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Including some essential fatty acids such as fish and flax oils and fresh nuts and seeds in the diet are necessary for health; supporting the cardiovascular, reproductive, and immune and nervous systems as well as having natural anti inflammatory benefits. Be sure to include foods rich in Zinc such as lean sources of beef, oysters and shell fish along with Vitamin C from fruit and vegetables to assist immune function. One other important nutrient that is essential for immune function is protein; think lean beef, veal, pork, fish, eggs and chicken. Keep winter dishes simple including herbs such as garlic, parsley, rosemary and chilli. Drinking water proves difficult in cooler temperatures and it is easy in winter to become dehydrated. Drinking warm water with slices of fresh lemon and ginger is a great way to hydrate as well as being a natural decongestant. Regular exercise boosts our cardiovascular and immune systems, increases blood circulation; keeping us warmer and increases our energy. You don’t need to train for the Olympics but you do need to train for your health & wellbeing! If the outdoors doesn’t appeal get a gym membership and exercise in comfort, no excuses! If you do opt for outdoor exercise in winter make sure you wear layers; gloves, scarves and umbrellas are very useful keeping the chill factor and rain out. This way you can peel off a layer as you warm up. What ever exercise you choose, make it something you enjoy and make it a part of your routine – that way you will stick with it.