How to stay fit and healthy as winter draws in

With the chilly weather and the clocks changing, many of us just want to eat a warm meal, sit on the sofa with a blanket, and stay inside.  

Although that may sound ideal, it may be more likely that you gain weight in colder months due to being less active, the lack of sunlight and eating higher-calorie comfort foods.  

Will Budd, a local personal trainer and online coach, said: “The body is smart and knows that colder weather means more energy is needed to keep thermogenesis up and keep us warm. This is always one of the biggest factors and leads people to their excessive snacking through the winter months.” 

So, how can we prevent the winter blues and stay fit and healthy? 

Staying active  

As obvious as it sounds, staying active is an essential part of staying healthy but with the darker days, we may have to find alternative ways of accomplishing our goals. 

Budd said: “Steps are a massive staple in any regime as they increase the period your body spends burning energy and take minimal effort. Going for an extra walk on your lunch breaks, walking to and from the gym and taking stairs instead of the elevator are all easily achievable and can make a big difference.” 

Keeping healthy food goals  

Sticking to healthier food options can be harder in the winter and fruit and vegetable prices rise because of seasonal fluctuation. 

“This usually spikes the amount of times people cheat on their diets and there are more sessions missed as people just want to wrap up warm with some comfort food when they finish work,” said Budd.  

Illi Karim, a registered nutritional therapist, has some healthy food tips to bear in mind. 

“I think foods higher in nutritional value are always accessible and don’t need to be expensive which sometimes people could be intimidated by, including tinned foods such as canned chickpeas and beans which are a good source of plant-based protein and are high in fibre as well as being affordable.” 

Karim added: “The key to keeping healthy in the colder months is to keep your body and immune system strong all year round. That could include eating foods rich in vitamin C such as bell peppers or kiwi.” 

Finding motivation and being in a healthy mindset  

“The most common factor I find with my clients is a lack in motivation as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder,” said Budd. 

If you are feeling some winter blues, staying active and keeping your healthy food goals are all steps you can take to help you stay fit and healthy this winter. 

There are a number of things that can help according to Karim: “Staying hydrated, incorporating fermented foods in your diet, sleeping early and getting a good amount of deep sleep, having omega 3 rich foods in your diet and of course managing stress levels.” 

Looking after your mental health is also important. “Be kind to yourself and maybe incorporate some self-care such as going for long walks during the daylight to get some vitamin D and having warm baths with Epsom salts are some great things to incorporate in winter,” said Karim. 

Finding a balance between staying active, eating healthily, and finding your motivation in winter can be difficult but by taking little steps such as these can help improve your overall health this winter.  

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