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Tips to Stay Fit And Healthy During Winter Months

Published: 19th November 2018

We know how hard it is to stick to normal health and fitness regimes in the winter – we feel your pain!

Dark nights and mornings can be a total turn-off when it comes to exercising, and when the chill bites it’s so tempting to dive into some seasonal comfort food.

Then there’s the Christmas parties, boxes of chocolates, festive gatherings and new year celebrations – so many obstacles trying to steer us off track!

While it’s good to let off steam and treat ourselves we need to keep an eye on our health and fitness, not to mention our wellbeing – winter can leave us feeling down in the dumps and demotivated.

But fear not. Help is at hand.

Active Tameside exercise class

Our resident expert, Active Tameside Fitness Development Officer and Instructor, Steph Mallet, has some excellent tips to help you emerge fighting fit and healthy in the spring.

And don’t forget, if you don’t fancy slogging through the wind, sleet and rain on your usual exercise regime, we offer excellent indoor facilities across our eight Active Tameside centres from team sports and circuit training to over 250 fitness classes – group exercise is a sure-fire way to keep each other motivated.

Our coaches and fitness instructors are always on hand to help you stay on course and motivate you throughout the next few months!

Steph’s tips to staying fit and healthy in winter:

• Get outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible to raise vitamin D levels (huge benefits for the heart, skin, immunity and mental health).

• Another way to boost vitamin D is to lose 5% or more of your body weight, vitamin blood levels will rise and cholesterol lowers. This is achieved mainly through exercise but also by eating more ‘good’ fatty foods such as fish, specifically salmon.

• Increase your Omega 3, flaxseed powder or oil, chia seeds, and walnut intake! Research suggests these supplements have anti-inflammatory effects, protect the skin, and have some impact on mental health.

• Eat more fruit and veg. It is really important to continue to include your five portions of fruit and veg in your diet, even though you feel like filling up on comfort food. Grab a clementine or satsuma instead of reaching inside the box of Quality Street.

• Drink more milk and dairy products. Cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are great sources of protein, vitamins A and B12 and calcium which keeps our bones strong. Think about choosing semi-skimmed or skimmed milk and go for the low-fat plain yoghurts.

• Have a bowl of porridge for your breakfast; it boosts your intake of starchy foods and fibre, keeps you fuller for longer, gives you lots of energy, stops you snacking, and the oats contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals. Why not add a banana or berries and try and use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk for an added nutrient and health boost?

• Write down THREE reasons why you want to exercise – the office party, extra portions of Christmas pud, holiday plans. Have a goal, this will help you to be more decisive.

• De-stress with exercise and meditation. Stress is shown to make you feel tired.

• Get a good night’s sleep – go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Keeping a routine will keep your mind and body alert and motivated. But, at the same time, don’t be afraid to slow it down if your schedule is getting too hectic!

• Think about activities the whole family can do together and get them out of the house into the fresh air. Ice skating or a walk around the park, maybe? Be active!

• Dress in layers that are easy to take on and off, and that is made up of sweat resistant materials. Wear sunscreen when exercising outside – yes, even in winter! If it gets snowy, the sun can reflect off the snow and damage your skin just as it would in summer!

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