Winter is a difficult season to maintain a healthy lifestyle. First there’s Christmas, bringing with it lots of great, but unhealthy, food and drink; and then there’s New Year where for many of us our resolutions to eat healthily and join dry January barely last a week. January especially is a long month – it’s dark, cold and we’re all poor! Basically winter not only brings dark nights and cold days, it also brings lots of excuses to not be healthy! But while it is a challenging season to lead a healthy lifestyle, there are a few tips I’ve found that have helped me to be healthier during winter.
This might seem crazy in winter when it’s so cold and dark, but if possible winter is a great time to get outdoors for a workout. I find that outdoor running helps to keep me sane during winter as it gives me an opportunity to get outside and at the weekends enjoy a little bit of the sunshine we might have. If I don’t get outdoors I just feel like I’m going from one indoor place to another, never seeing proper daylight or getting any fresh air. While I think running is great, there are loads of other ways of exercising outside, such as cycling or even just going for a long walk.
Sign up for a race
If the cold days and long dark nights zap your motivation to exercise signing up for a spring race or having another fitness goal will help to push you out the door. I tend to sign up for a spring marathon as I know that I will need to train and can have no excuses, to get round the course in a good time; but whatever event you choose as long as you need to train it will help to give you the motivation you need.
Meal planning, or even better meal prepping, for the week is great all year round but especially good in winter when it is so much more tempting to reach for convenient comfort food. Meal planning is a great way of ensuring that eating healthily fits easily into your everyday life, for example if you know you won’t get home until late when it already feels like the middle of the night outside, you can ensure you have a dinner ready that will be quick to cook.
Eat healthy comfort food
Winter is a season made for comfort food. While it is easy reaching for unhealthy comfort food, there are usually lots of healthier alternatives that you can make instead. Soups and stews, especially when made from scratch, are normally not expensive and are great when it’s really cold outside, while porridge is an ideal breakfast choice in winter. Don’t cut carbs from your diet either as carbs will not make you fat (especially wholemeal ones) but cutting them out of your diet will probably make you miserable, just make sure you’re keeping your portion sizes in check!
Rest is a vital part of leading a healthy lifestyle, especially in winter when there tends to be more sickness bugs going around. Getting enough sleep is ideal, however if you struggle with this meditating and doing a calming exercise such as yoga will help your body to rest.