It can be a challenge to stick to our normal routines when the cold weather brings snowy roads and shorter days. Don't let the woes of winter stop you from staying healthy and fit this season.
Here are a few tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to stay happy and healthy this winter!
Naturally our bodies obtain Vitamin D from the sunlight and foods such as salmon and some dairy products. In the winter, we are not exposed to as much sunlight and we are not absorbing as much Vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital to our health and well-being as it is a natural anti-depressant, important for our immune system and metabolic functions.
*You can choose to take a daily supplement (1,000-5,000 IU/day) so that you can enjoy the benefits.
Omega 3's help to balance our mood, hormones, improve brain, eye, and skin health and reduce cholesterol. If you are not eating at least 3 meals per week that include fatty fish, you may need a supplement. When we are deficient in omega 3's and consume too much omega 6's, inflammation can occur which can affect our immune system, skin and hormones. To add more omega 3's in your diet you can eat more omega 3 rich food or incorporate a high quality fish oil supplement (3,000-5,000mg/day). There are also vegan options that are made of flax seed oil and/or algae.
Consuming processed foods, especially sugar during the holidays can wreak havoc on our digestion systems and overall gut health. Probiotics are found in a few dairy products and fermented food, but most of us do not consume enough for it to make a noticeable difference in healthy gut bacteria. Probiotic supplements can improve skin conditions, digestion, bloating and reduce inflammation in the entire body.
Eat the Rainbow:
Eat a colorful plate. Even though most veggies and fruit are not locally in season during the winter, we still need to include them on our plates. We need the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in these foods in the winter to avoid getting sick and feeling worn out.
*If you are craving starchy carbs as comfort food, you can add baked sweet potato and squash to your meals. Keep your carbs full of vitamins and fibre and avoid eating a plate of "beige" to optimize our health.
Drink Enough Fluids:
When the weather is colder, our thirst for water can decline compared to the warmer months. If you are finding it difficult to consume 2L of water per day, you can try adding frozen fruit to add flavor to your water or herbal teas. When we become even slightly dehydrated, we may experience irritability, fatigue, headaches, muscle soreness and over eat. Dehydration can definitely negatively affect our weight loss goals and mood during the winter, so it is so important to make an effort to drink more fluids!
Let's face it, when it is cold and snowy outside we do not make it to the gym as frequently as we do in the Spring. If you don't want to make the trip to the gym, that doesn't mean you have to sit on the couch!
Here are a few ideas to get moving if you don't make it to the gym:
*Go on a winter walk outside with your family & pets. It will elevate your mood & energize you through the dark evenings.
*Try a winter sport like skating, skiing, snowboarding, hockey or sledding with the kids.
*Workout at HOME! Choose a specific time of day to do your workout, turn up some energizing music and jut get it done. To get motivated, reward yourself to your favorite TV show when you're done or a delicious smoothie/protein shake.
There are a ton of simple exercises that you can easily do at home and in a small space. Choose 4 exercises and repeat 3-4x each. Some of my go-to moves include; lunges, squats, planks (many variations), tricep dips (using a chair) and light arm & shoulder workouts using 2-5lb weights.