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Get outside to beat the winter blues

Posted by in Advice, General News on Nov 26, 2018 .

Get outside to beat the winter malaise

It’s no secret that as winter arrives we’re more likely to hit the sofa than the hillsides. With the festive season nearly upon us, the combination of stodgy treats, gloomy days and cold weather means we’re likely to feel tired and unmotivated to get outside. 

But the key to keeping your energy lies in spending time outdoors all through the year. Read on to find out how you can stay feeling happy and healthy through the winter months with these practical tips. 

Make the most of natural daylight
As the days grow shorter, our bodies respond to the lower light levels. The lack of sunlight means we produce melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel more tired. The best way to combat this is to get as much sunlight as possible, even in freezing temperatures. Try and get outside every day – even 10 minutes will help you feel brighter, especially if it’s in the middle of the day when the sun is at its strongest. And keep rooms bright and airy with curtains and blinds open to let in as much light as possible. 

Avoid the germs
One of the reasons coughs and colds spread throughout winter is that we spend more time indoors. The germs and bacteria that spread illness are much more likely to be passed on in stuffy, indoor air than when we are outside. Even without cold germs lingering, houses can harbour stale air containing mould and spores, so get outside to get a good dose of fresh air and keep homes ventilated by opening windows every so often. 

Get plenty of exercise
Getting outside might feel like the last thing we want to do, especially if we’re already feeling tired. But exercise boosts the production of endorphins, hormones which help us feel more energised and contribute to that positive buzz we often feel when we’re finished. Exercise also gets oxygen moving around our body, helping us function more efficiently, as well as being good for our overall fitness. The NHS recommends adults aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week, and children should have around an hour a day. It’s especially important for young children to have the opportunity to run around and play all year round for their gross motor development. 

Eat a rainbow
This isn’t strictly about being outside, but it is inspired by a weather feature! Eating a range of differently coloured fresh foods regularly is the easiest way to access a good range of vitamins and minerals to help you feel well and high energy. Try and include a mix of red (tomatoes, peppers, berries, red salmon), orange (carrots, butternut squash, oranges), yellow (sweetcorn, lemons, egg yolk), green (spinach, broccoli, avocado) and blue/purple (red cabbage, blueberries, beetroot) in your diet. In particular for winter, deficiencies in vitamin D and iron can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. We usually make vitamin D from sunlight, but in winter months eating more oily fish and eggs can help. Iron is found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, lentils and red meat. 

And don’t forget to layer up before you head out – it’s the surest way to stay warm and dry! Read our tips on layering here, then get your essentials from the online shop. 

Tags: exercise, winter blues, winter, daylight, outdoors, outside Last update: Nov 26, 2018