With winter officially upon us it's time to adjust daily routines in order to dodge winter bugs.
It's cold, it's miserable and it's tough to get out and about. But this doesn't mean you can't keep active and healthy.
We know the winter months can be difficult which is why we've sought the insights of local health leader Adain Summerfield. Adain Summerfield (BPhEd, PGDipPH) is a Program Leader at the Otago Polytechnic's Institute of Sport and Adventure.
Summerfield has worked in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years and teaches students about fitness, health and wellness. He offers the following tips to navigate the shorter, colder days ahead:
1. Start Your Day The Right Way
Waking up is harder during winter. It's cold and hitting the snooze button to steal extra time in a warm bed is an inviting option. But this delay to starting the day might not be beneficial if it leads to chasing the clock to meet deadlines later in the day.
"My father taught me to get both feet straight on the floor when the alarm sounds" says Summerfield. "Get up and get into the day."
"Secondly, I always make my bed. This simple task is one I know I can do well and helps to create success momentum. Success momentum is taking small wins to build to bigger goals throughout the day. Once you get in the habit of making your bed, you’ll find yourself engaging in subsequent activities in a more positive way. And worst case scenario, even if your day doesn't go to plan, you'll have a well made bed to climb into at the end of the day!"
2. Make The Most Of The Sun
The days are shorter and things get darker earlier. One of the biggest reasons we get sick in winter is not due to the temperature but a lack of sun.
Summerfield shared his insights. "I have two young kids and I always tell them when the sun's out, we're out. Scooters and balls, jackets and gumboots are always in the car to allow for outside play whenever the opportunity presents.
One of the biggest things about winter is that we're not active and our inclination is to stay inside where it's warm. Most people spend too much time sitting inside a box, looking at a screen. The last thing I want my kids to do after school is sit down at home watching tv. If you're in the sun you're more likely to move.
Try to get out for a walk in the sun and spend at least 10 minutes a day. The cold isn't going to make you sick but a lack of sun will. A great Finnish proverb says there's no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing. An extra layer might be all it takes to disrupt couch time through the colder months.
People who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to get infected with flu viruses. Supplement with vitamin D3 to or spend some time in the sun this winter to ensure you're helping your immune system.
3. Make The Active Option The Easy Option
With temperatures plummeting it's easy to avoid regular exercise. The best goal is to plan inexcusable activity - activity that you can't make excuses to get out of.
Summerfield shared a few of his tips for planning inexcusable activity: "I find non-weather dependent exercise in winter. I play squash which is an indoor sport that isn't subject to the weather. I also play in a team where I'm committed to other members to turn up and play each week. This stops me from finding excuses not to play so I don't let down my teammates.
When planning your exercise make sure you incorporate two factors:
1. It's not weather dependant
2. You have a partner to train or play with
By using these two tools you'll drastically increase your adherence to an exercise regime over the colder nights."
Exercise increases your immune response so ensure that you're able to keep moving through the colder days to stop yourself from falling sick.
By using these three tools you'll be able to increase your wellbeing and health this winter. If you want to reach Adain for more of his advice, shoot him an email here.
The antidote team