By Maggie Catlow
To say that I love hot and steamy summer days is an understatement. I relish my lifestyle in the warmer months of the year. I have an extra spring in my step and zest for outdoor exercise, healthy salads and fresh juices. Balmy nights that make my body and spirit feel lighter, especially after spending some fun in the sun at the beach.
The list goes on about my affection for summer… an icy winter however, I’m really not so enthusiastic about. In winter, I lack motivation for exercise and my willpower to maintain a balanced diet decreases with the temperature. I’m not a fan of feeling frosty, so the thought of sticking with my outdoorsy way of life and tropical eating habits during the cold snap is enough to send chills down my spine.
Skipping the early morning jog because bed is just too cosy and reaching for comfort food instead of a fresh juice, has always made me feel a bit lazy during winter. Every year without fail, usually snuggled up in front of the TV with a hot chocolate, I sit and dwell on my inability to stick to health-conscious routine.
However, this winter I won’t be feeling as guilty because I have come to terms with the fact that my summer habits aren’t sustainable in the cooler months. Instead of forgoing physical activity and ditching the healthy eating all together, I have recognised that winter is a time to modify such practices to suit the climate.
It is always a good idea to change up your routine every 12 weeks to avoid hitting a plateau. Additionally, switching up your exercise arrangement for an outdoor jog in summer to hot yoga sessions during winter doesn’t mean you have lost your love for running. It just means that you’re doing something different for your body on those cooler days when you would prefer to be tucked away indoors. In other words, you are listening to your body and changing with the colder environment.
The key with determining what exercise you should do during winter is to identify what you feel excited about. You might like the idea of taking up a spin class at a health club instead of enduring frostbite while bike riding on a cold morning. We naturally tend to want to hibernate more during winter and maintaining physical movement is about modifying elements of your workouts so you don’t get bored with, procrastinate or dread exercise.
As the seasons change our eating habits tend to as well. As the temperature descents, choose superfoods that give you that toasty feeling in your tummy. Incorporate healthy eats that are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and immunity boosters that your body needs to power itself through the cold.
An invigorating green smoothie may have been your go-to brekky in summer but winter is a perfect time to break out the oatmeal. I think a bowl of porridge drizzled with honey is like a grandmother’s tender hug, it’s the perfect way to start the day. The fact that it’s packed with fibre and plant-based protein is an added bonus. Add a few raw nuts or ground flaxseeds on top to assist with your daily quota of good fats.
Soups with ingredients such as cumin, pepper, chilli and garlic are great for heating you up when the weather starts to change. For a sweet, comforting treat, baked apples are a great seasonal option. A dusting of cinnamon on top provides even more antioxidants and assists with your sugar levels for sustained energy.
As someone who always tries to look at the positives, the one thing I really love about the cooler months is that it’s tea weather. A delicious brew of ginger tea is my favourite as it has thermogenic properties that can keep you warm, boosts your metabolism and promotes blood flow. I also love the calming way tea makes me feel, it’s like a cup of summer sunshine.
As they say, healthy summer bodies and spirits are made in winter. Applying some of these food and lifestyle switch-ups to your daily routine can make all the difference and help to make the most of the cooler season.This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.