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Five tips to help you care for your health and wellbeing this winter

Each season brings challenges and predictable patterns that may negatively affect our health. For instance, the gradual change from winter to spring can bring with it the onset of hay fever and other spring afflicted ailments. The shift from summer to winter is used by many as a time of preparation for the colder climate and to implement new habits into a daily routine.

With a decrease in sunshine and the days gradually becoming shorter, winter is truly a time of change, While it is impossible to avoid catching colds and bugs, there are steps you can take to help you perform at your best. Below, Checklist provides health and wellbeing tips for winter that can be easily implemented into your daily routine, to help guide you through the coming months.

Vitamin D supplements

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Taking a vitamin D supplement is one basic but important change you can make to care of your health. This is incredibly important during winter, when many people simply do not get enough sunlight. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, and it is difficult for most people in the UK to get enough through these natural sources, due to little or no sunshine exposure.

Individuals with darker skin – for example those from an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – may also not produce enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Taking a daily vitamin D tablet can help to offset health issues caused by lack of sunlight, as well as provide numerous benefits. Designed to support good immune function, vitamin D promotes intestinal calcium absorption and helps maintain adequate blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.

Become more active

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As the days grow colder and shorter, many individuals tend to become less active. Even those who were frequent gym goers and generally active may exercise less frequently.

For those bold enough to brave the change in temperatures and hit the gym, go for a run (or partake in any form of exercise), you will reap a whole host of benefits. A number of studies have shown that exercising releases endorphins and can help to reduce high stress and anxiety levels, alongside the physical benefits that many individuals see after a prolonged period of exercise. Why not consider a lunchtime workout, if you know the dark mornings and evenings are going to hamper your usual workout regime.

There are also many tried and tested supplements people can take, to aid in their exercise regiment. Magnesium contains several health benefits. It has shown to help with recovery and muscle contraction and have a positive influence on blood pressure. Beta-alanine also possesses numerous health benefits. A naturally occurring beta amino acid, it is designed to help with endurance and possibly building muscle, as well as to aid in buffering lactic acid to resist fatigue and get you through those last few reps.

Embrace the outdoors

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As a follow on to the previous point, people can naturally become more adverse to venturing outside as summer turns to winter. However, don’t let the change in climate stop you from enjoying what is truly a magical time. For many, the simple act of walking can work wonders for their mental state.

In winter, nature is transformed in a manner not seen at any other time. The vibrancy is breathtaking, parks come alive and turn into picture-perfect locations, with the leaves on trees turning a reddish-orange or brownish-red colour, paving the walkways, making it an ideal spot for a stroll. No matter how short or long the walk, immersing yourself in nature can be an effective mood-booster, as well as a great way to get those steps in. To truly enjoy the walk, ensure you have appropriate clothing and comfortable footwear.

For those with beloved canines, a winter dog walk is the perfect excuse for a stroll. Not to mention, the backdrops can make for some great Instagram pictures.

Food and drink in winter

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For many, following a healthy and balanced diet plan is much easier in the summer months, with the season’s warmer temperatures and longer days.

However, a healthy, nutritional diet need not be a chore in winter, with numerous foods in season that are both tasty and nourishing. Seasonal veg includes the likes of beetroots, carrots and pumpkins, that can easily be incorporated as main ingredients in stews, soups, and other warm dishes. Also consider seasonings that add a sweet, mildly spicy, and salty flavour. Not only can they help you to feel nourished and energised; they can give your dish an additional flavour kick too.

If supplements aren’t quite your cup of tea, herbal tea is an option. Whilst there are plenty of shop-ready teas that provide a range of health benefits, consider concocting a home recipe, to find a blend that really hits the sweet spot. Try mixing ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric in your tea, with these and many more providing a unique taste and a range of health benefits.

Baby steps

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Whilst the need and want to incorporate new health and wellbeing tips for winter immediately into your routine can be tempting, it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. For many, building healthy habits requires time and patience, so working one or two new steps into your daily routine can work wonders for your mental health. Not to mention, once those new habits have been integrated, you can then start to work other ones into your routine. Before you know it, many of these new daily habits will become second nature, and you will wonder what life was like before.

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