Updated: Feb 1, 2019
Shakira Akabusi is a personal trainer, expert in pre and post natal fitness, and founder of @stronglikemum - we sat down with Shakira to get her top tips for staying healthy through the colder months.
Tis the season off the sniffles! To say the least. Although I’m a big fan of the winter, the cold truth is that, with shorter days and frosty weather some people may find they pick up bad habits in the winter months. Cosy nights in front of the fire easily lead to eating more junk food and watching more television, causing some individuals to develop more sedentary lifestyles. So how to beat the winter blues and keep healthy? Well, here’s a few tips which might just do the trick! 1 - Natural Daylight
Research suggests that being exposed to more natural light during the day, improves a persons energy levels and mood.
So although days are short it’s important to prioritise outside time during winter. Natural Sunlight assist your body to produce more vitamin D, which in turn promotes healthy bone growth and can prevent excessive weight gain. Natural light also has a direct impact on how much quality sleep you get during the night, giving you that extra boost of energy throughout the day!
2 - Destress with Exercise It’s been well documented that regular exercise helps to improve your immune system. However in order to get the most out of this, you’ll need to keep active on a regular basis. When you workout, blood is pumped around your body and antibodies are circulated throughout your blood stream, seeking and destroying infections. So it makes sense that you’ll need to repeat exercise to keep this function going. Try to plan some of your workouts outdoors, as this can boost the benefits even more. Not to say that bad weather should be a reason for opting out, however, outside exercise allows you to reap the befits of fresh air, natural light and fitness simultaneously. 20-30 minutes a day, three times a week is a great place to start.
3 - Eat more Fruits and Vegetables Eating a healthy diet not only boosts your immune system to better protect you from catching winter illnesses, but it can also help to speed up recovery if you do fall ill. You may find that the range of fresh fruits and vegetables decline slightly at this time of year don't be afraid to opt for frozen veg if needed. They are still really high in nutrients! Plus, eating a selection of root vegetables ( such a swede, sweet potato and carrots), is also great to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs. 4 - Catch those Zzzz’s Alongside being active, rest and recuperation are crucial to a healthy lifestyle. As with most extremes, overdoing it with a fitness program can actually have a negative impact on your health and you may find yourself feeling drained and exhausted as opposed to energised. The best way to figure out whether you’re over-doing it, is to gage how you feel after exercise. You should be feeling energised and positive. If you finish working-out and feel agitated or fatigued, this may be an indication that you need to take it easier next time. Rest and Sleep is when your body will rejuvenate most. The majority of your body's cells will replenish whilst you sleep so it’s important to factor this into your week as well.
5 - Plan Fun events! This tip is a little more lifestyle based however studies have suggested that having events lined up to look forward to is a great way to boost a persons mood and encourage wellness. This is no doubt true throughout the year however after the excitement of Christmas and New Year it might be just what you need to keep your spirits up! Try plotting some other fun activities into your calendar for the coming months. Surrounding yourself with friends and family to simply HAVE FUN, is proven to be a powerful anecdote to stress. According to studies ( Kuiper & Martin 1998) people who laugh more, show fewer negative feelings when under stress in contrast to those who don’t. It seems, Laughter really is the best medicine!
For more winter wellness tips & advice, follow Shakira @stronglikemum