Exercise, Sleep & Good Nutrition – A Winter Survival Guide

When mornings come with a notable chill in the air, it makes it hard to throw back the duvet, let alone get up, make a healthy breakfast and do some exercise.

But yet, it’s that good food and exercise that can make you feel warmer, boost your mood, improve your health and increase mental clarity during those cold and frosty Winter months.

So, in the same way as healthy eating can be fun, how can you make sure you stay fit and active through the wintertime, when all you want to do is hide under a blanket until Spring?

The three secrets to good health

The secret to health and happiness is like all good things – it comes in threes. In this case, those three are good food (and plenty of water), good sleep and regular exercise.

Each one is intertwined and enables the other to achieve success. According to a recent article by Men’s Health on the benefits of sleep for exercise, a good night’s shut-eye is the key to having the energy we need to get through the day. This of course means the energy to work out and do other less sedentary tasks.

Sleep in the right proportions can also boost your mood, support the immune system, help the body to recover and repair and even reduce risk of serious illness and unwanted weight gain.  If only it could be bottled!

As the article mentions, it’s sleep which gives us the energy to exercise, this exercise in turn makes our minds and bodies fitter and healthier, as well as reducing stress levels and improving our enjoyment of life over all.

So, add to the mix good nutrition. Food which contains all the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients is essential to getting the most out of the exercise you do, as it’s these nutrients which feed, fuel and repair the body, enabling you to feel happier, healthier and more full of energy.

What types of winter exercise are there?

It’s fair to say that, when you ensure the right levels of good nutrition and sleep, that it will make you more ready, willing and able to exercise. So, once you have the basics implemented into your lifestyle, it’s time to look into the kind of exercise you do and start to learn how to enjoy it. It’s this that will give you the motivation to get started.

If the weather is particularly nasty outside, you don’t even have to leave the house. Why not look to workouts such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), yoga, pilates, tai chi and weight training. For many of these indoor workouts, all you need is floor space and a workout mat. Whack on the feel good tunes and you’re away!

If you’re looking for something less energetic, strength, balance, flexibility and sitting exercises – such as these ones on the NHS website – are ideal.

In the winter, it’s always a good idea to get outside and enjoy some fresh air when you can too. The levels of Vitamin D enriched sunshine are much lower at this time of year and it’s a great chance to stock up.

Whatever your ability, or level of fitness, on a day when the sun is shining, perhaps go for a walk, run, jog, bike ride, rock climb or swim in an outdoor pool and see your mood and energy levels soar. We reckon it’s certainly more fun than a duvet day!