There’s no escaping it, winter is coming! I’ve said it several times and you’re probably bored of me repeating myself, but I really do feel like as soon as the children went back to school someone flicked a switch from summer to autumn. It was as though the leaves started changing colour overnight and dark night’s started creeping in quicker than I’ve ever remembered. My husband, Ben, reminded me yesterday just how dark it will soon be at 4pm. Thanks Ben!
Though I’m excited to crunch through the leaves with my children in the woods, watch fireworks on bonfire night and make exciting plans for Christmas, I’m not so thrilled about the sniffles, colds and lurgies that come with the cold season. I despise getting ill and I do my best to avoid it. Last year I escaped with only some minor sniffles, but before I became so healthy I was guaranteed a full on cold every year.
Here are my top tips for avoiding illness this winter and staying healthy in the cold:
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your own health and the health of those around you. Believe me, I know. I was a smoker for over 10 years. Every winter, whilst I was a smoker, I would get the most disgusting chesty cough that lingered for weeks. It was horrid. I never totally put it down to smoking, but just thought it was perhaps from the cold and linked to any illnesses I had. Surprise, surprise, since I stopped smoking I have never had this cough again. I rarely even get a cold. My conclusion is the smoking caused the cough. Suffice to say, all the smokers I know have horrid phlegmy (yuck) chesty coughs, especially through the winter months.
Luckily, nowadays, quitting smoking is a lot easier with companies like Haze Smoke Shop selling vaping gear. E-cigarettes and vaporisers are a much healthier alternative to smoking. They provide the addictive nicotine hit to the user, but release vapour instead of poisonous smoke, thus vastly improving the health of the smoker and those around them. It’s still not ‘healthy’ to use these, but it is a lot healthier in comparison to normal cigarettes. Even the NHS mentioned using e-cigarettes as a means to quit in their Stoptober campaign this year.
Just because it’s cold outside it doesn’t mean exercise has to stop. If you can’t bear the thought of going outside in the freezing temperatures, find something you can do indoors instead. Join a gym, visit your local swimming pool, try a trampoline park or even discover an ice skating rink. There are plenty of activities indoors to keep your fitness levels up whilst the big freeze sets in.
If you’re on a budget, try working out at home. You Tube is full of exercise videos for free. Simply type in how long you have, even ten minutes a day is better than nothing, the exercise or area you want to work on and try some of the videos. All you need is a little space. For example, search ’10 minute yoga for the bum’ to discover a yoga session that works on your glutes.
Exercise is more accessible than ever nowadays, even from the comfort of your own warm home, so you really have no excuse in the winter.
Whilst more research might be needed to officially prove that cold weather makes you ill, I’ve no doubt I my mind that immune systems are slower or weaker in the cold. If I’m going to get a cold, it’s going to be in the winter. Most people I know get more illnesses in the winter so there is definitely a link.
To combat this, it’s important to keep warm. Make sure you wrap up well in appropriate clothing when going outdoors. Set timers for your heating at home to ensure your home is toasty whilst you’re there.
Up your vitamin and mineral levels
It’s always important to eat plenty of fruit and veg, but even more so in the winter. As your immune system may not be at its best in the cold temperatures, you’ll need to give it an extra boost with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Why not try a smoothie packed full of veg and a little fruit to sweeten it, for breakfast each morning? Make homemade soups to warm you up on a winter’s day and fill them with all your favourite veg. Though you may no longer feel like eating refreshing salads for lunch or snacking on juicy fruits, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate hearty beg into your winter diet.
Prevention is far better than cure. Keep your immune system tip top to ward off any viruses.
Keep tiredness at bay
Sleep is often vastly underestimated. If you don’t get enough kip, you are more susceptible to illness. Your body depends on sleep to rest, recover and repair itself. Lack of sleep will affect your immune system. Make sure you continue to get a good night’s sleep in the winter.
It’s also important to get plenty of natural daylight during the day when you can. With dark mornings and dark evenings we can feel sluggish and tired throughout the winter. Banish this tiredness with a brisk crisp winter walk and lots of light to reawaken your senses.
Related blog posts:
How to exercise with a toddler or children at home | Keep fit as a mum
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Your ultimate inspirational guide to being truly healthy
Smokers - stop making my children smoke!
Will vaping be the end of smoking?
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