Winter is here! And whilst that may not be a celebration for many, we all have to live through it. Staying healthy (and warm) is important to help you sail through the cold months with a minimum of fuss, and most importantly, to keep you in your ballet class!
When the weather is colder and the days are shorter, the couch becomes a whole lot more inviting! This is the time of the year when binge watching the latest TV series appears to be a more attractive prospect then throwing on your ballet gear and heading out the door. It’s not really the better option, as after class you know that you will feel fantastic, energised, and a whole lot clearer from a mental perspective, especially if you’ve had a rough day.
Exercise in winter feels like a slog, but all it requires is a bit of determination to make it happen, organisation to get out the door, and an extra layer or two to stay warm. Try to maintain your exercise regime all the year through, that way it’s a habit rather than a chore.
A good diet is important at any time of the year, but winter is the time that we all crave those comfort foods that make us feel warm and happy. Whether it’s snacks on the couch with your favourite movie or the extra helping of dessert at dinner, now is a good time to pay attention to what and how you are eating. No one is suggesting that the fun things are cut out, rather that they are kept in check.
Winter foods tend to suffer with lack of excitement and sometimes enthusiasm – the delicious tropical summer fruits have long disappeared from the shelves (along with outdoor dining), and it feels as though the choice is down to apples or pears! But before you despair why not jump onto one of the many online recipe banks for some inspiration that is tasty and healthy. It’s important to fuel your body well – it will help you to fight off winter lurgies and give you the energy you need to bounce through the shorter winter days.
Whilst you’re considering what you put into your body it’s definitely worth mentioning fluid intake. Staying properly hydrated in winter is tricky, as you don’t tend to feel your thirst as much when it’s cold. However, that doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t need it! Maintaining good fluid intake in winter just requires a bit of creativity. Perhaps herbal teas or delicious fruity tisanes will float your boat. You might decide to stick with water and to drink it warm instead of cold.
However, there are a few beverages to consider more closely before increasing them in your diet. Coffee and tea have long been thought to create a diuretic effect in the body – you can read a dietician’s views on this idea here.
Regardless of the diuretic argument, both of these beverages do have caffeine so think about how much you’d like to be buzzing before you increase them too much. And, of course, alcohol is definitely not hydrating, so pay attention to how many glasses of wine go down with those couch snacks!
If you live where the weather is balmy and winter isn’t much more than a blip on the radar – lucky you! If you live where winter can’t be ignored then staying warm is imperative for survival, especially if you think you’re part reptile! If the cold and wind seeps into your bones, layers are going to be your best friend.
This is equally true for the ballet studio. Your ballet class will warm you up, but remember you’re not going to want to throw off all of your outer layers straight way. Wear layers so you can always stay warm enough, but not overheat, and at the end of class put on enough clothes to leave the studio! You might feel hot after your exertions, but it’s still cold outside!
Looking after your health in winter will help you to dodge the nasty bugs that are always lurking. Keeping your distance from the sneezers and the coughers will minimise your risk of catching their germs, especially if you work with a lot of other people. Consider having a flu shot so you are protected against one of the most dangerous seasonal ailments. This year’s flu season is predicted to be one of the worst – you can read more about it here.
Finally, don’t forget that sleep is crucial to good health. There are many articles and blogs available about the benefits of good sleep – see here and here. Sleep is one of the best ways to recover as well as recharge, so making sure that you are having enough will give your health the boost it needs.
Winter might have you shivering in your boots, but with a bit of organisation and self-care you can stay healthy and keep living your life to the full through the colder months.