You might want to snuggle up indoors and eat your favourite comfort food, but it’s during the colder months that getting active and eating well is even more important. Here are six good reasons why.
- Find the sunshine
There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin. While there are a limited number of foods that can provide your body with vitamin D, the easiest source is from exposure of bare skin to sunlight.
During summer a short exposure of 10-15 minutes is plenty, but in winter sunshine can be harder to come by, especially when you’re huddled indoors and live in Victoria. But that’s why it’s even more important to get outside and get moving to keep our bones and immune system strong, to grow and absorb calcium.
- Keep warm
Save electricity and an expanding waistline by heating your body up naturally with a workout. The rise in your body temperature has a soothing, calming effect on your body, not unlike a long soak in a warm bath or lying in front of the heater.
- Stay healthy and sit less
Regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important in winter when colds and flu are circulating around town.
When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly helping them seek and destroy infections. But this boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects.
- Beat the winter blues
Whether it’s the usual winter blues or the more serious SAD (seasonal affective disorder) putting a gloom over the colder months. A daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals and helps ease depression.
- Staying social
Over the winter month’s people tend to hibernate at home, especially at night. So meeting a group of friends for a walk, joining a regular exercise group or being part of the community can keep you motivated and connected to others.
- Avoid winter weight gain
Think of winter. Most of us conjured up images of red wine, cheese, hot chocolate, slow cooked food and a crackling fire. No wonder it’s known as the ‘winter weight gain’. It can be harder to resist unhealthy temptation in the cold and the only way to make up for that is to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. That glass of wine will cost you 30-minutes of walking. Just 2 cubes of cheese will be another 30-minutes and the hot chocolate? A full hour of walking is what you need to work that off.
So whether you’re seeking winter sun in the north, or (trying to!) stay warm in the south; it’s important to keep up your healthy eating habits and get your 30 minutes of physical activity a day.