Medically reviewed by Darshita Thakkar, Masters in Clinical Nutrition
Winters are great but also brutal. It is a season with shorter days, longer nights and cold weather.
During this season, our body naturally slacks owing to the coldness. Our muscles become stiff and a sense of laziness will prevail. This is sure to hamper your exercise regimes if you lack the determination
Winter also means holidays! Come December we are pelted with sweets since the month welcomes Christmas and New Year. Similarly, family gatherings and vacations are a norm too!
When we face such circumstances, staying healthy in winter can be really difficult. One needs immense motivation and determination to keep up with their health regimes.
Apart from cold-induced laziness and festive treats, there is also something called ‘the winter blues’. During this season, it is very common for people to catch a cold or flu since the body’s immunity will below. When this happens, paying attention to health and fitness is even hard.
But even winter can be challenged with advance preparations and better management.
Our health coach Darshita Thakkar shares some inputs on how to stay healthy in winter season.
1. Eat smart
When it is cold outside, you may want to eat piping hot pizzas and sip on hot chocolate. This is completely natural and it is definitely not your fault.
Winters are known to stimulate carb craving. Instead of giving in to the temptation and craving, you should take steps to control your carb cravings.
Load your plate with protein, fibre, vegetables and fruits. Instead of eating simple carbohydrates, eat complex carbohydrates like millet, ragi and jowar. It is all right to eat pastries once in a while, but always exercise portion control.
Likewise, never skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it will help you plan the rest of your day.
Another thing you should keep in mind is the inclusion of healthy fats i.e., Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Omega 3 can be found in foods like nuts, seeds, fish etc. It is worth mentioning that essential fatty acids are bestowed with anti-inflammatory properties in nature.
Anti-inflammatory properties are great to reduce muscle aches, stiffness and joint pain which are quite common due to the cold weather.
2. Include spices
We have already mentioned that our immune system takes a hit during the winter season. This can be tackled only by eating nutritiously.
Feel free to add spices to your recipes as often as possible. Spices like ginger, garlic, cilantro, turmeric will not only enhance the flavour of your food but will also strengthen your immune system.
Common cold and sore throat are very common during the winter season. To relieve this, you can add just half a teaspoon of turmeric and pepper to hot milk and drink it just before going to bed. Turmeric has both medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Like the one mentioned above, you can prepare a number of drinks using natural herbs and spices that will boost your immune system during the winter season. These homemade drinks will also help you to stay healthy in winter season.
3. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables
Eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables. And make it a point to aways eat seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are bestowed with natural protective nutrients which are great for winter. For example, oranges, mandarin, etc are high in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is very much needed for building strong immunity. Now, these citrus fruits grow during the winter. So, it is not only easily available but also cost very less too.
4. Drink wisely
To stay healthy in winter, you can also sip herbal teas like cinnamon tea and basil tea. You can also opt for Possible’s herbal drinks like Teatox, Hibiscus tea, etc.
These drinks are rich in antioxidants and help ease winter associated disorders like depression and anxiety.
Similarly, instead of hot chocolate, you can drink hot vegetable soups. These are great for your throat, mood and health.
Exercising outdoors can be really hard due to the cold weather and catching a cold is something we should avoid. But it doesn’t mean that you skip exercises altogether during the winter season.
You can always indulge in indoor exercises. There are ample YouTube videos on Possible Channel that will guide you on how to do different cardio, strengthening and yoga exercises. You can also find warm-up and stretches exercises.
If you don’t know where to start, you can check out our blog on various exercises and Possible’s YouTube channel to learn about indoor workouts.
6. Keep yourself hydrated
During summers, we will feel thirsty all the time due to the scorching heat and because of that, we will drink plenty of water. But this is not the case with winter. We hardly feel thirsty during the winter and hence, we ‘forget’ to drink water.
To stay healthy in winter season, it is important to drink water consciously. Water will help to flush out toxins from the body. It will also help relieve skin problems like flaky skin, dandruff or eczema that are common during the winter.
This is something focused more on the mind than the body. December is full of celebrations and therefore, one should enjoy to the fullest.
Too many restrictions can hamper your jolly mood. Therefore it is important to find the balance.
To make your health regime a successful one during the winter, plan healthy meals along with your family members. Most importantly, influence your social circle and motivate them to stay healthy in winter season.
Q: Is it OK to walk in cold weather?
A: If your body permits, yes you can go for a walk. However, you might develop stiff muscles, catch a cold or flu owing to the cold weatherbreeze. Therefore, indulging in indoor exercises is a better option.
Q: What should you not do in the winter?
A: During the winter season, it is natural to want to eat carbohydrate-rich foods like pizzas and drink hot chocolate. But this can damage your health. Therefore, it is important to stick to fibre and protein-rich foods and drink hot soups and beverages.
Q: How can we stay fit in the cold season?
A: You might just want to cuddle and stay inside the blanket all day long but slacking coupled with unhealthy foods will only slow down your metabolism. Focus on eating healthy foods and do indoor exercises as often as possible. This will help you to stay fit throughout the winter.
Q: How to stay healthy at work during the winter season?
A: Instead of coffee or tea, drink hot water or green tea to keep yourself active at work. Likewise, ensure that you don’t sit for too long. Move around as often as possible. If possible, do a couple of stretches.