Tips on how to Survive Winter and Stay Healthy

Good Ideas for Your Wellbeing

For most of us, winter is all about snuggling up and indulging in comfort food to warm the insides. Which is how the kilos sneak up on you.

That's why we've put together the following articles, with tips on how to survive the colder season and stay healthy. There's advice about the foods to focus on and ideas on getting active. Put it into practice and you'll have a better chance of getting through winter without the hibernation bulge.

Survive the Season

Give yourself a boost this season by stocking up on fresh foods at your supermarket. Here are the secret weapons for surviving the season.

There’s a chill in the air, which means it’s a great time to enjoy nutritious vegetables in hearty meals to help keep you warm. It’s also a time when colds and flu are lurking – so the nutritional goodness of fresh fruit and vegetables is important to help keep you going through the cold months.

At your supermarket now…

Hearty vegetables: Use these winter vegetables for succulent roasts, nutritious soups or hearty casseroles: turnips, leeks, parsnips, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin

Stir-fry vegetables: Whip up a delicious winter stir-fry with your favourite herbs and spices, lean meat and nutritious in-season broccoli, cauliflower, onion and carrots

Citrus fruits: Juicy and bursting with vitamin C, fresh grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges and tangelos are at their best now

Leafy greens: Green leafy vegetables like brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach and silverbeet are at their prime now

EAT WELL TO HELP STAY WELL

A diet containing a wide variety of different foods, especially fruits and vegetables, is important for general health and well-being.

Try these powerhouse foods for a burst of goodness:

Garlic: For centuries, people have used garlic as a traditional remedy. To enjoy the benefits of garlic, add freshly crushed cloves to your stir-fries or pasta sauces

Foods rich in vitamin C: As well as being a natural antioxidant, vitamin C is important for wound repair and immune function. Just one kiwifruit will provide you with your daily vitamin C needs

Foods rich in vitamin A: Include carrot, sweet potato and spinach in your winter meals for the benefit of vitamin A, a natural antioxidant

Foods rich in zinc: This valuable mineral has been shown to help keep your defences strong. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, crab, beef, poultry, beans, nuts, wholegrains, some fortified breakfast cereals and dairy products.


When the temperature drops, the urge to hibernate sets in, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Make this the time you warm up by staying in shape with our action plan.

There are things we love about the cooler months: curling up inside while the rain drizzles down; tucking into hearty casseroles and curries; snuggling under the covers on a gloomy morning. And there are some things we don’t like about this time of year, including the fact most of us may find we’re carrying a couple of extra kilos.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the two things are related. You may tell yourself your extra padding is a natural seasonal change, a result of your metabolism slowing as the mercury drops, but we’ve got some bad news – for most of us, it’s simply not true.

“It’s not our metabolism that slows down – we’re the ones who slow down,” says Maree Garside, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. “The National Nutrition Survey showed that during winter, not only does our energy and fat intake increase, we also have an increased desire to eat. That’s not so much due to physical hunger; it’s an emotional need we have to feel warm and nourished.”

The good news is exercise not only helps you burn off the kilojoules you’ve already ingested, it makes you feel less hungry in the long term.

A Texan study shows training three times a week significantly reduces levels of the hunger hormone leptin. And of course, fit people are less likely to succumb to that other downer, the flu.

Canadian researchers found people who trained three times a week significantly increased their immune system’s ability to fight viral and bacterial infections.

But, even when you know you should be exercising, it can be hard to get yourself moving. When it’s cold and dark outside, you can always find excuses to stay at home. Here are some ways around them.

EXERCISE EARLY

When you’ve been working all day, and it’s already dark outside, it’s hard to drag yourself to the gym. If you’ve already done your gym class that morning, it doesn’t matter. “It can be hard to get out of bed in the morning, but once you’re up, you feel great,” says Mei Allen, group fitness manager for No.1 Fitness Club in Sydney.

“If your gym is close to work, you’ll avoid peak hour rush too.” Set your alarm an hour earlier and put it at the far side of the room – that way you’ll have to get up to turn it off.

BUY A PEDOMETER

“We’re supposed to take 10,000 steps a day. It is a lot, but can be incorporated into your day, and a pedometer can help you keep count.” Mei points out.

FIND SOME FRIENDS

Team sports are a great way to have fun with friends or make some new ones.

Plus, you’re less likely to skip a workout if you know other people are depending on you. Basketball, indoor netball and indoor cricket are all good options.

EXERCISE AT HOME

If you really can’t bring yourself to leave your home, give yourself some fitness homework. Invest in a yoga or pilates DVD, or even do your gym workout at home. “There are many exercises you can do,” says Mei.

“Try tricep dips on the lounge and push-ups against the wall. If your home has two steps, you can do step-ups.” A trainer at your local gym will be able to help you create an at-home routine.

Click here for more information on getting active.


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