How to stay healthy in winter
With all the winter germs lurking in the air, and on just about every surface in our homes and in public places, it’s a big challenge to stay healthy in winter.
According to some research published in Medical News Today, some viruses, particularly the Rhinovirus, and some flu viruses can survive and spread more easily from one person to another in cold, dry air.
This would explain why winter is always referred to as flu season, right? While this isn’t the best news for the sniffles, there’s a lot we can do to ensure we boost our immune systems and arm our bodies with the right tools to fight off pesky germs.
Here are a few of my tried-and-tested tips to help you stay healthy in winter, and beyond!
Have a shot of apple cider vinegar with a probiotic
Not only does apple cider vinegar help to reduce bloating and keep your gut healthy, but it’s also been found to lower insulin levels and improve heart health. I find that having apple cider vinegar at night, after dinner with a probiotic improves my digestion and helps me sleep better. Apple cider vinegar is also antibacterial, which is ideal for fighting germs in winter. I mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 50ml water and have it every night.
Start the day with a fresh veggie juice
There’s no doubt that my daily dose of greens (broccoli, spinach or kale, cucumber and celery) in my veggie juice gives me the energy I need to keep going throughout the day, plus it gives my immune system a real boost. I call it my rocket fuel because it’s packed with vitamins and live enzymes too.
Sometimes I’ll throw in some beetroot, apple and carrot for a bit of sweetness and it’s delicious. If you’re in a rush every morning, chop those veggies and store them in the fridge or freezer the night before so you can literally just blend them first thing the next morning.
Stick to a supplement regime that works for you
Over the years I’ve tried various combinations of supplements to find out what works best for me, and this is my go-to protocol that keeps me happy and healthy most of the time;
- A daily probiotic for gut health
- A calcium magnesium supplement at night for bone health and better sleep
- Vitamin C for immunity (It’s also a potent antioxidant)
- Vitamin B to ease symptoms of stress in busy times
- Folic acid it’s part of the B-vitamin group to help lower blood pressure and prevent anaemia
- A good multivitamin – for overall health and wellbeing
It’s easy to take in plenty of cold fluids in summer, but in winter we struggle a little more. Ironically, winter can be just as dehydrating to the body as a hot summer. We may not be sweating as much, but the drop in humidity (especially in Gauteng) robs the skin of moisture, as well as the mucus membranes in your nose, throat and lungs. Keep your liquid levels high in winter with water as well as herbal teas for a powerful antioxidant punch.
We’re all guilty of it; wanting to stay indoors – undercovers, preferably – moving as little as possible. However, we’re made to move our bodies all year, through all seasons. Exercise is important for our general health and wellbeing, not to mention keeping our waistlines in check.
Whether it’s moving your workout indoors, swapping the gym for a workout DVD (I have plenty of great rebounding workouts for you), or rescheduling your sessions to the warmer hours of the day, don’t forego your workouts.
Here are a few additional benefits of working out in winter:
- When it’s cold out, you burn more fat and calories with each workout.
- The more energy you burn, the better you sleep at night.
- By staying fit during winter, you’ll be able to avoid gaining weight, have a head start on the next beach season and avoid losing strength and stamina caused by inactivity.
- Regular exercise is also one of the best ways to boost your immune system and fend off wintertime colds and other illnesses.
Give at-home workouts a try
If you’ve recently switched to at-home workouts, why not give my online rebounding classes a try? They’re fun, so you won’t get bored or miss the gym, and they’re jam-packed with a variety of moves to give you the best full body workout your body deserves. My online workout DVD’s range from 5 minutes to 50 minutes, plus I offer a variety of different workouts including full body, upper body, lower body, strength, and cardio-specific classes.
Even better news is you can purchase my LR Rebounder, plus all the fitness accessories you need to create your home gym. Then, you never have an excuse not to train. Everything is right there, in the comfort of your own home.
Yep, I know it’s chilly, but your body still benefits from the fresh air and sunlight of the outdoors. We’re lucky to live in sunny South Africa, so don’t forget to enjoy 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight daily. Even in rainy Cape Town, there are some beautiful clear days in winter. Apart from the vitamin D supply, sunshine plays a powerful role in regulating your body’s internal clock. Walk the dogs, go for a gentle bike ride or simply take a stroll with the family when it’s warm.
Experiment with flavour combinations
Natural flavours are your ticket to a healthier winter. Garlic still tops the charts as a great immunity booster, as does ginger, chillies, turmeric and rosemary. Load up on flavour and you’ll be doing your health a favour!
Keep your skin plump, supple and full of that healthy summer glow by using a few firm strokes over your whole body before your bath or shower. Make sure to focus on those problem areas such as your hips, thighs and feet. This method of gentle exfoliation will help to rid your body of dead skin cells and help pump blood more efficiently around your body. The better your circulation is, the more efficient your body will be at fighting off germs.
Don’t soak in the tub
Sitting in steaming bath water for an hour may be one of your winter highlights, but enduring the hot water for an extended period of time actually dehydrates the body. Keep your cleaning habits the same as they are during summer, even adding some essential oils to your bath for added moisture.
Ward off seasonal allergies
To support my immune system and keep allergies at bay, I always use;
- A natural saline nasal spray (especially when I’m travelling and flying a lot)
- Probiotics and raw, fermented foods to support my gut
- Certain essential oils such as peppermint oil to unblock my sinuses
- An air purifier to keep bacteria and viruses from spreading in the air
Practice good sleep habits
Did you know that sleep deprivation has been found to drastically lower your immune system? It’s important to get as much shut-eye as you can in winter to stay healthy and strong.
If you want to fall asleep with ease and stay asleep, good sleep hygiene is a must! This means switching off all electronic devices before bed, especially those which emit blue light. I also do my best to keep all light out of my bedroom. This includes natural moonlight and street lights. I use block out curtains and I use my SleepSpec Lamp to read every night before bed.
The lamp is great because it only emits a soft orange light, and doesn’t interfere with my melatonin production. For more information on the SleepSpec shades as well as other sleep props in the range.