The Feel-Good List – Top 5 Winter Health Tips

January is one big health-kick up the arse. Since we all ate, drank and made merriment harder than we should have over the Xmas break, there's plenty of room for a healthy hand this new year. With this in mind, Exposed's Claire Moore has compiled a list of top health tips for these cold, cold winter days…
I'm Claire, a Sheffield personal trainer and am amazed on a daily basis by the stream of people who are looking for the easy quick-fix option when it comes to health and fitness.  Diet pill anyone? Please. 
The simple fact is that nothing worthwhile is easy and a fit and healthy body should be at the top of your worthwhile list.

1) Eat plenty of Veg and fruit. Notice how I put veg first? Your ratio of veg and fruit should be 3:1. Yes fruit is healthy but also full of natural sugars so it is important to up those vegetables. When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include at least five portions of veg and fruit a day.  Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Eat seasonal and local and enjoy them at their best. Fruit and vegetables which are grown during their traditional growing season have a better taste and don't need as much fertilising. Local companies such as Avid Farm and Riverford Organics supply local, seasonal produce right to your door. Or if you are really keen why not try growing your own?!
2) Exercise. I know I know, it’s cold, its dark and all you wanna do is go home and flop on the sofa. But exercise gets those endorphins flowing and is a great way to boost energy and lift your mood.  Exercise also increases the body's virus-killing cells so will help you fight the dreaded annual sniffing, coughing and spluttering. Aim for 3-4 good sessions each week. And whoever decided that exercise only means the gym? Try something different.  Sheffield has a huge range of activities available – learn a new skill and make exercise fun – rock climbing, martial arts or get that belly out and try a bit of belly dancing.  I am even trying Burlesque in a couple of weeks but that is a whole different blog post 😉

3) Fresh air – we spend so many hours cooped up inside over winter with the heating on full blast. Many indoor heating systems are dehydrating and recirculate air which at this time of year can be germy! Get outside.  We are so lucky to be perched at the edge of the Peak District – get out there. A walk in the fresh air can do wonders for your head as well as your body.
4) Relax. Things can get pretty stressful this time of year. Dedicate some time to you. Yoga or Pilates are great ways to chill out whilst working the body. Even taking a bath, relaxing with a book or a short stroll can really lower those stress levels.  Or if you really want to treat yourselves pop along to a local spa such as Spa 1877 and indulge in one of their treatments (The lime and ginger salt glow is top notch)  

5) Sleep.  Get 8-10 hours shut eye each night if you can. Sleep is the time our bodies rest and repair and with the busy lives we all lead it is so important you give your body the rest it needs. In winter, we naturally sleep more, due to the longer nights. It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold. I can’t think of a better excuse for a nice long lie-in.
Here’s to a happy healthy winter!
Claire, Believe Achieve UK

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