Winter can easily wreak havoc on our usual health routine. Cold mornings are enough to keep even the most ardent exerciser in bed hitting the snooze button. We are far more likely to overindulge and forget the importance of a wholefood diet when we’re not faced with being in a bikini! Seasonal weight gain is common but with winters in Australia being relatively mild our weight doesn’t need to yoyo throughout the year. Desperately trying to slim down for summer is an unnecessary stress that can be avoided by staying mindful throughout the colder months, even when your body is all covered up!
· Keep moving! Our exercise routines will probably look different during the winter months and that is fine, as long as we continue to move our body on a regular basis. As well as keeping us in shape, exercise increases our circulation which will help to combat the winter chill long after the session has finished. Swap swimming and coastal walks for heated yoga and indoor group exercise classes. If early mornings are proving difficult, try working with a trainer or a friend so you are accountable to someone when your alarm goes off.
· Eat smarter. We should eat differently during winter – seasonally this makes sense. In winter we’re utilising heavier foods like root and tuber vegetables, red meat and wholegrains. Summer fare is lighter so we can get away with eating a little more. When we swap salads for stews and curries we should account for the added density of these foods with a smaller portion size.
· Light your digestive fire. The best thing about cooking more of our food during winter is the range of digestion firing spices we can work with. Try porridge spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger for breakfast. In curries, soups and stews, experiment with cayenne pepper, fennel seed, cumin, black pepper and turmeric. These spices are heating, balance blood sugar, improve circulation and enhance digestion.
· Sweat. I am a habitual user of infrared saunas year round but the health benefits are even more potent during winter. Infrared sauna is deeply detoxifying and increases circulation, relieves stress and pain, promotes weight loss and purifies the skin.
· Stay hydrated. Thirst is often confused with hunger, so even though it isn’t as easy to remember to drink water when its cold, it is just as vital to keep fluids up. Sipping on herbal teas and warm water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated during winter.
Written by Louise Cavanough – Kings Cross and Bondi Junction
Originally written for Buro24/7 Australia – http://www.buro247.com.au/columnist/louise-cavanough