Though we may think we are almost over the darker, colder nights, there’s still caution needed to protect our bodies from feeling winter’s negative effects this New Year. In fact, it’s the perfect time to give our bodies some much needed TLC and vow to protect our immune system this year. Here are Damart’s top tips on how to stay fit and healthy this season, no matter how cold and gruelling it may be outside.
The best way to avoid communicable diseases such as colds as coughs is to sanitize and… sanitize! Try to be more conscious of washing your hands after using public facilities, as this is the best way to quickly avoid transferring germs.
The same ritual should be taken up in the home, too. Winter is the best time to give the whole house a deep clean, and the mattress in particular. This will help rid it of any potential dust mites and dust that could trigger further asthma and winter allergies. Where possible, ask a family member or close friend to help you if the task proves a little difficult.
“Winter is a great time to try out something new that you can do indoors, so why not give badminton or squash a go? A burst of activity will make you feel far better (and warmer!) than just sitting around at home. Exercise prompts a temporary rise in immune system cells that attack foreign invaders within the body, meaning that those who are physically active five or more days a week are a third less likely to catch a respiratory infection (such as the common cold). Although these levels return to normal within a few hours, each session is likely to provide an additional immune boost to fight off infection.” Says expert nutritionist Sarah West.
Working out when its cooler can also boost endurance and stamina when exercising and can even help beat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) to help beat the winter blues by keeping active.
Check out this over 50’s fitness guide for the best home workout routines.
Nutrition is key
For many of us, it’s much easier to eat better and get our much needed nutrients in the summer months, fresh produce and seasonal veg is a lot more accessible then. But winter is peak season for root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots, all rich in vitamins A and B. As these contain high amount of fibre and iron, you’re likely to stay fuller for longer thanks to their slow burning carbs. Another crucial winter vitamin is C, which is an anti-oxidant that can help fight the severity of colds. Citrus fruits, berries and yellow peppers are some of the best.
For those who struggle to eat nutritional meals, make up for this by taking daily supplements. Iron is great for those who don’t eat much red meat, and can provide a great source of energy and sense of vitality. (Always check with your GP before introducing new vitamins to the diet.)
Sarah West adds: To enhance your immune function this winter try eating plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables and increasing your intake of foods containing zinc (such sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, beans, poultry, yogurt and wholegrains).Try to avoid too much refined sugar, as this has been shown to reduce energy levels and suppress immune function
Cold temperatures can increase the risk of catching flu, and can trigger further respiratory issues if we don’t make the extra effort to layer up.
Throughout a bitter winter, it’s important to protect our hands and face foremost. Always make sure that a woolly hat, gloves and a scarf is worn outside, to ensure the air you breathe is kept warm. Opt for clothing made from wool and synthetic fibres to ensure the body is fully insulated. Damart’s Thermolactyl range uses innovative fibres that gives 5 degrees of protection against the cold and their Winter Shop makes the cold much more bearable. Products such as Thermolactyl Scarves are great for a stylish and warm winter and throws are perfect for cosy nights in to provide an extra layer in bed.
When indoors, Age UK recommend that the living room should be kept at around 21 °C, and the rest of the home 18 °C. To help stay snug at night, wear a thin thermal long-sleeved vest and socks to maintain breathability and comfort.
For more top tips on staying warm throughout winter, check out Damart’s guide to Thermolactyl to help find the right level of protection based on your level of activity and personal preference.