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Tips on staying healthy this winter

Happy couple in winter clothing
We’ve put together some simple tips on staying healthy this winter. We have tips on coping with the cost of living crisis and how to avoid getting sick.
We’ve heard it all before, but how many of us actually take the steps to ensure we feel good during the winter months? We want to help you make it as easy as possible, which is why we answer some of your questions below and dive into 6 top tips to help you stay healthy amongst the colder weather.

Why do we get sick during the winter months? 

The winter months aren’t always the easiest – yes, some of us really enjoy getting cosy, wrapping up warm and the festivities that come with the darker evenings. However, low temperatures increase the chances of getting sick as immune systems can become weaker. Spending more time indoors can also mean viruses spread more easily, increasing our chances of getting sicker during the winter months.

Can you avoid getting sick? 

You can of course ensure you’re as healthy as possible, but sometimes there’s no way to avoid getting sick. There are steps everyone can take to reduce their chances, which we’ll go through in this article, but none of them are a quick fix and we recommend implementing these top tips throughout the year.

Support with the cost of living crisis 

Another reason why staying healthy during the cold months is so important, many of us will unfortunately not be able to have the heating on as much as we need. 
So, to help with that, at a basic level, make sure you:
  • Layer up inside and outside 
  • Keep draughts out by blocking any areas in your home that are particularly draughty, including around window frames, keyholes and under doors 
  • Make warming food and drinks – slow cookers are a cost effective way of using energy and you can make extras to heat up the next day too 
Also, check the following: 
  • Find out what financial support you could get from Help with Households 
  • Find out if you’re eligible for free NHS prescriptions 
  • Make sure that you’re claiming any benefits you’re entitled to. You can contact Citizens Advice for help 
  • If you’re over 50, Age UK advice line offers help with claiming benefits

Here’s our 6 top tips on staying healthy this winter…

1. Eat a balanced diet 

This is an important part of maintaining good health. A wide variety of foods is important too – ever heard of Plant Points? Plant Points is like your 5-a-day but focuses more on variety rather than just the number. Plant Points can be gained from whole foods, powdered food, and herbs & spices. You can learn more about Plant Points here

Why not try something different like sea moss? Currently really popular, sea moss is low in calories and fat, and may help to support a healthy lifestyle. It contains a small amount of protein, as well as offering a variety of vitamins and minerals and is also a great source of iodine and antioxidants.1

2. Keep exercising – or start today!

The winter months can put most of us off exercising. The thought of dragging ourselves out when we just want to stay in bed can be really hard! But there’s plenty of exercises you can do at home, including walking exercises, try walking up and down your stairs more regularly or pacing whilst you’re on your phone. 

There’s also different exercises you can do in your room. Try using a resistance band, pop on a YouTube video and get moving!

3. Ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D 

Vitamin D plays an essential role in keeping us fit and well. It can be harder to get vitamin D during the winter months, as the body creates it from direct sunlight outdoors.2 Therefore, it’s recommended to take a vitamin D supplement from October to early March, as it helps regulate the amount of calcium in the body, ensuring our bones, teeth and muscles stay healthy.2

Suggested article: What is vitamin D good for?

4. Get the flu jab or the COVID top-up 

The flu jab is important because flu can be dangerous for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions. It can also be very unpleasant for other people who get it, so check out our A-Z guide on cold and flu to understand different symptoms to look out for. 
Some people are eligible for a free flu jab, including if you’re:3
  • 65 and over 
  • Have certain health conditions 
  • Are pregnant 
  • Are in long-stay residential care 
Find out more about the importance of the flu jab.
COVID-19 may be here with us for a while still, so it’s important to protect yourself as much as you can. The suggestions to help are still the same but let’s have a recap4
  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19, if you’re eligible or if you want to 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day. Maybe take a hand sanitiser with you everywhere you go 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and encourage children to do this 
  • Regularly clean surfaces you touch often and in shared spaces, such as kitchens or bathrooms

5. Stimulate your mind

The key to being happy and healthy isn’t just about your physical health, it’s about your mental health too. They can of course go hand-in-hand, but the winter months can be really difficult for a lot of us to enjoy. So, it’s important to try out new things to keep your mind stimulated too (that isn’t just bingeing on your favourite show)! 

Try something new like a jigsaw puzzle, finding a new favourite book, or take up knitting or cross-stitching. Watercolour painting is great for helping you relax without the stress of having to actually create something from scratch. There’s so many ways to keep your mind happy this winter.

6. Sleep

We’ve all heard about getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night, but do we know why and how this helps to keep us healthy? Let’s take a quick look… 
  • Quality sleep can help keep your heart healthy as during sleep your heart is able to rest and blood pressure may be reduced5 
  • Lack of sleep can increase your chances of Type 2 diabetes, as the cells that use glucose as energy can’t regulate, causing an increase in systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and hormonal changes which can lead to fat accumulation and obesity
  • During sleep your body produces growth hormones which repair tissues and cells, so chronic sleep loss can make you more susceptible to infections and hinder inflammatory responses7
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to difficulty thinking clearly, forming memories and learning well and impact judgement. Whereas enough sleep can improve your mental function and increase your focused attention as the brain recharges itself and removes toxic waste byproducts which accumulate in our brains during the day8,9
For more information, we answer your most googled questions on sleep

If you struggle with sleep, try some of our favourite products: 

The final say 

It’s important to remember that you can implement all of these tips and still get sick during the winter months, we’re all built differently and the way our bodies work are different. It’s about doing what’s right for you, as you know your body better than anyone else.

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.   

 
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