When the temperature drops to freezing, the allure of hibernation until spring is as enticing as plate of freshly baked barbari bread for me. This is especially true following today’s events, after I took a tumble on the ice outside and whacked my head off the pavement. Miraculously, my natural padding spared me, ensuring my bones remain unbroken, unlike my pride.
However it was served as a gentle prod to rethink my choices as a new mum over 40, especially in the footwear department. I really do need to take more care and prioritise self-care. Yes, the pangs of aging occasionally cast a gloom in these dreary winter months! Ah, the woes of getting older; it’s like realising I’m now the one pulling the sled instead of riding it alongside my dad.
Any way, here’s how I am trying to maintain a healthy outlook over the dreary winter months, so when Nowruz eventually arrives, I can have a spring in my step!
Dip In An Ice Bath
The ice bath craze endorses the fact that lower temperatures induce the flight-or-fight reaction, releasing powerful hormones including feel-good endorphins and kick-starting your adrenaline. It may sound counter-intuitive when the forecasters are predicting storms and freezing temperatures, but turning your heating down, even just a few degrees, will make you feel better in the long run. While sitting in an ice cold bath promises many health benefits, including pain relief, improving eczema and weight loss, dipping your toe into the icy water may not be very appealing. Turning your shower to cold for the last few seconds won’t lead to weight loss, but it will make you feel more awake and focused.
A Dose Of D
In the winter months, the blues and low spirits often link to a shortage of vitamin D, famously known as ‘the sunshine vitamin.’ This vital nutrient is generated by our bodies when exposed to sunlight. As winter sets in and with aging, Vitamin D deficiency becomes common, particularly as the kidneys struggle to convert it to its active form. While symptoms may be subtle, the deficiency can contribute to low mood and various health issues. You can boost your Vitamin D intake through Solgar supplements or natural sources like egg yolks, certain fish, and fortified grains. To combat fatigue effectively, consider pairing it with Vitamin K2.
There is no doubt exercising is harder when the days are so cold. Just getting in the car to go to the gym in the dark when it’s cold and miserable is more of a challenge – even for the die-hards. That’s why buddying up with a friend or an online fitness tribe helps you stick to an exercise regime when really you just want to curl up under a blanket with a glass of wine. The commitment to doing something with someone else means you’re less likely to cancel a class, or roll over in bed instead of pulling on your trainers. The camaraderie fostered in a regular gym group exercise class exemplifies the essence of community training, providing the much-needed motivation to break a sweat, no matter how gloomy the weather may be.
Kickstart Your Week With Exercise
Studies indicate that if you start the week with a workout you are more likely to do more during the rest of the week, especially in the winter. It is harder to get motivated the later you leave it, and by the end of the week, many of us are distracted by other engagements and work. Opting for an early exercise routine not only keeps your motivation levels high but also contributes to maintaining your overall well-being. Little and often is a great way to approach the colder months, but make sure you plan your exercise routine properly.
As temperatures drop, the inclination towards comfort food naturally surges. Research indicates a seasonal decline in the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin during winter, making us more prone to cravings for sweet treats to combat fatigue. It’s important to balance blood sugar. It’s also a great time to bring out the slow cooker. Soups and stews like ghormeh sabzi are both nourishing and comforting, and by prepping in advance you can avoid prolonging the dangerous post-work early evening wine and snacking scenario.
So hopefully, our tips above help to combat some of the winter-weary days, guiding you towards a season filled with warmth, in your heart, in the kitchen and the gym to winter-proof your health.