By Zinhle Masango
Winter can be a very challenging season in which to stick to a workout plan and healthy diet. Colder weather, shorter daylight hours and the allure of staying warm and eating comfort foods can all make it difficult to establish a consistent routine.
Here are a few tips to help you through the seasonal slump…
Bring Fitness Indoors
You may not always be able to exercise outside, but there are many ways to stay active indoors:
- Walk laps at the mall
- Take a fitness class at the gym
- Join a community dance class
- Lift weights
- Work out to a YouTube fitness video at home
The most important tip is to find something you enjoy doing. If you're having fun, you’ll be much more likely to stick to a consistent exercise routine.
Make the Most of Winter
Believe it or not, winter is actually the best season for losing weight. Studies have shown that keeping cool can help you slim down and shed a few kilos. Your body uses more energy to keep you warm in colder temperatures than it does in warmer weather, which means you burn more calories.
If you’re feeling up to it, try:
- Sleeping in a cold room
- Stepping outside for a 10-minute shiver session
- Taking an ice bath
- Taking a dip in a cold pool or the ocean
Winter’s shorter days and longer nights can cause our serotonin levels to drop, leading to food cravings and the gloomy feelings known as ‘winter blues’.
By eating healthy carbohydrates, you can actively boost your serotonin levels. Try:
- Squash, pumpkin, butternut, sweet potatoes, gem squash and yams
- Almonds and walnuts
- Green leafy vegetables
- Citrus fruit (oranges and grapefruit)
Eat your Meat
Beef, chicken, lamb and venison are considered the heartiest protein sources, and are best served slow cooked. You can add these to soups, broths and casseroles along with warm spices.
A few wonderful winter spices include:
- Mulling Spice
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Star Anise
- Vitamin C can help to boost your immune system to fight colds and flu.
- Our bodies usually absorb vitamin D from the sun's rays, but in the winter natural absorption becomes more challenging. Adding supplements to your diet this winter may help reduce your risk of developing depression and unhealthy cravings.
- Zinc is naturally found in fish, dairy, eggs and some cereals, and can also help to ward off infections.
- Make sure you drink enough water each day.
- Drink hot water with lemon and ginger in the morning – it’s filled with immune-boosting qualities.
- Make your own turmeric latte by infusing your favourite non-dairy milk (almond or coconut milk) with turmeric and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Allow it to infuse for a minute before drizzling with maple syrup or honey.
- Try adding honey or lemon to your rooibos tea, green tea or mint tea for a boost of flavour.
- Sip on skinny hot chocolate (sugar-free) made with almond milk or boiled water.
Staying healthy during winter can help shake off the cold, boost your energy levels and prevent weight gain. As they say, summer bodies are made in winter - so don't let the winter blues keep you from reaching your health and fitness goals!
Catch Zee on social media @FHA_fitnesshealthactive and on the 5 Colour Fitness TV show on SuperSport channel 209 at 7 am and 5 pm daily, 7 days a week.