With the days getting shorter and darker, and a dropping temperature outside, it is becoming easier to ignore our conscience telling us what we should do. It's tempting to swap your pre-work workouts for an extra hour in a warm bed, pick healthy food options over larger, less nutritious portions, or bow out of evenings out with your co-workers to binge-watching the latest series at home, so how can you give your motivation a lift, fight off seasonal illness and keep your healthy active lifestyle on track during winter?
As much as channelling your inner hedgehog and staying snug in the office all winter may sound appealing, maintaining an exercise routine is as important as ever to keep the winter blues away. Something as simple as getting off at one train station before your usual commuting stop can help you get that bit of extra exercise in.
To keep yourself motivated through the cold weather in the longer term, look at a new form of exercise you might not have tried before, such as CrossFit, hot yoga or rock climbing. Gather a few like-minded colleagues, get a coach lined up and make good use of that lunch hour to work up a sweat!
It’s great for your motivation to be learning a new style and improving quickly at it, while the added accountability of working out with the same group at a consistent time can keep you on track.
With the temperature dropping and work party season in full swing, the temptation to over-indulge in pumpkin-spiced lattes and party foods can dramatically increase at a time when you want to be fuelling your immune system to stay healthy and well. With the decreased exposure to sunlight - reducing levels of blood vitamin D - keeping up sources of vitamin D in your diet such as oily fish, eggs and wild mushrooms is important for your overall health.
Also look to winter cookbooks for meal inspiration that use seasonal meats and veg, which are likely to be hearty and warming while bringing more bang for your buck on a nutritional level.
Invest in a good vacuum flask to keep hot drinks/soups warm throughout the work day. That way, you know you are filling your body with the good stuff as well as saving the earth by reducing the disposables from the local sandwich shop or café.
Whether working out as part of a group or getting out to spend time with friends and family, staying sociable and interacting with others can keep you motivated and happy throughout the cold season.
Take time to enjoy the little things winter has to offer with the people you work with:
- Find the closest Christmas market to your workplace, wrap up warm and spend an enjoyable lunch hour at a Christmas fair with hot chocolates or mulled wine
- Go ice skating
- Take a long walk
- If there is an indoor ski centre near you, this is the season to get inspired and get those skis on and learn a new skill!
Stay happy and healthy this winter, and appreciate the little things.