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Winter Weather: Staying Healthy

Shorter days

If you're finding it really hard to get out of bed in the morning, it's probably down to the lack of sunlight - we're programmed to rise with the sun, but in the middle of winter that's often just not practical! You're likely to feel more fatigued so expose yourself to natural light as much as possible, and take a vitamin D supplement if need be. If you're really struggling, you should speak to your doctor - you may be suffering with what's called seasonal affective disorder, and a more structured coping plan might be necessary.

Cold

The cold weather is the biggest factor in becoming unwell in the winter months - while lower temperatures may not cause viruses directly, the close quarters as all of us retreat indoor means that you're 80 per cent more likely to get sick in winter! Make sure you're eating a balanced diet and getting a good boost of vitamins to keep your immune system healthy, and don't forget to drink water regularly - it's easy to forget when it's cold, but it will actually help your body to regulate temperature a lot more.

If your home is cold, stock up on lots of light layers rather than one chunky layer, as this will trap more body heat in and help you stay warm. Have at least one hot meal a day, and drink plenty of hot drinks to keep your core temperature ticking over at a healthy level.

Wind, rain and snow

You may not even realise how much the wind and rain affects us - so used to it as we are - but there are all sorts of subtle changes we can make to ensure we're well-protected. Waterproof coats and boots are essential for keeping the rain off, as any water that gets in will make you colder. The most instinctive reaction when it's wet and blustery outside is to huddle up and keep your head down - but all you're doing is tensing your muscles, which won't help you keep warm. Take a deep breath, relax those shoulders, and walk with lots of movement!

If there's snow outside, you should take extra-special care and make sure you have a really good pair of boots - preferably with non-slip soles to avoid any tumbles. Stay wrapped up, and wear gloves if you're planning on playing in the snow - you might otherwise find yourself with very sore fingers for a few days afterwards!

 

Sources for this article:

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Winterhealthhome.aspx

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