Do you have trouble staying as active in the winter, as you do during the spring and summer? Do you experience seasonal syndrome, by feeling depressed and tired during the cold months—and struggle to get much exercise at all? If you want to stay active and healthy throughout the coming season, our winter wellness plan is just what you need!
Studies Show a Poor Diet Can Cause Winter (Un)Wellness
Whether you simply want to curl up on the couch with a good book instead of going outside for a run, or heading to your gym, there’s a good reason to stay active: exercise supports your immune system while also keeping your waistline under control! In addition, when you skimp on healthy foods and rely on fast food and other low nutrient snacks, your gut takes a toll. Studies show that a poor diet won’t just affect your energy level and metabolism, but can change the composition of your gut, leading you to become more susceptible to illness, because it changes the composition of your microbiome.
Here are some ways to keep your diet in check and thus, keep the common cold and flu away:
• DIY soups for cold winter nights. During the winter, there’s often nothing more comforting than a hot soup by the fireplace. Make two of your favorite soups on hand, and freeze what you don’t eat. Easy, and accessible, winter soups and stews are the perfect healthy and balanced meal to keep you on track!
• Limit the holiday food over-indulgences. Since the holidays are here, that means a lot of rich, tempting food to overindulge in! If you love pumpkin spice lattés, treat yourself every other Friday to one. If there is a particular desert you look forward to (sugar cookies with lots of frosting, or your mom’s pumpkin pie), fill up on a protein rich meal beforehand—and then indulge in a slice.
Staying active will pay off, both for your mental and physical health. This is because when you experience stress—which is often inevitable—and you don’t have an outlet to release it, you may in fact change the composition of your body. For example, stress can cause painful ulcers, but ongoing stress can also cause your thymus to shrink. Your thymus, which makes T-cells (immune cells) keeps many infections and viruses away so that you can fight off disease quickly. Here are some ways to stay as stress-free as possible:
• Try a new cardio or weight lifting class. Staying active is easier to do when you keep your activity varied and interesting. Is there a winter boot camp being advertised in your city? Have you ever wanted to try hot yoga, or a body pump class? There’s no better time to try it than right now—and to stay motivated all season long!
• Get quality sleep every night. If you’re watching TV until you go to bed, you may suffer from a poor night’s reset because of it. Sleep is an essential need. When you sleep, you can actually strengthen your immune system—which will boost your winter wellness!
Just because it’s winter, that doesn’t mean you need to forget about old healthy habits. Instead, focus on your diet and activity level by changing things up, indulging in new activities and eating well balanced meals. Make this winter all about wellness, and you’ll feel healthy AND happy all season long.