It’s official: the season to hibernate is well and truly underway. Think heart-warming roasts at home, lolling in warm baths and watching movies while wrapped up in fleecy blankets on the couch.
Thankfully, the Winter Solstice (aka the shortest day of the year) has been and gone, so it’s only onwards and upwards from here. Here are seven top winter health tips, many from experts at The Village, to help you keep your health in check this season.
1. Get juicy
Green juices are nourishing, delicious and packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Be sure to use seasonal greens like kale, spinach, fennel and celery and add warming spices like ginger, cardamom and nutmeg. Pop by Good Day Juice Bar for your morning fix.
2. Eat clean
“In winter, replace processed food with healthier natural food, including seafood, lean meat, dairy, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and dried legumes,” says Mona Mahajan, practice manager at St Ives Medical & Cosmetic Centre. “Eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, so include fruit and veggies such as lemons, kiwifruit, capsicum and broccoli in your weekly shop.”
3. Say “Om”
Studies have shown the age-old practice of yoga reduces BMI (body mass index) and the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure and cuts cholesterol. (Sign me up, right?). If you suffer from joint pain in winter, try a Vinyasa-based practice (flowing form): the poses will increase circulation while loosening stiffness in the joints. Local yoga studio The Yoga Room has a range of gentle flow and restorative classes worth a try.
4. Keep little ones healthy
“For children that suffer from the cold and flu more often than others, the Inner Health Immune Booster for Kids is a great product,” says McFadden’s Centre Pharmacy manager Clare Greaney. “It is a specific probiotic strain designed for children’s immunity, helping to reduce the frequency of the cold or flu and the number of days your child is absent from childcare or school.”
5. Stay hydrated
The body is made up of 50-75 per cent water, so it’s a no-brainer we need to flush our cells with fresh water everyday. Not only does it aid digestion, lubricates the joints (essential in winter!) and helps regulate body temperature, but not drinking enough can lead to dehydration and increase the risk of kidney stones. Women should aim to drink eight cups a day and men should aim for 10 cups.
6. Rest your head
Turning the lights off early can do wonders for your health. Aim to get seven to nine hours’ sleep each night to keep your immune system healthy. “If adults do not get enough sleep at night, many things can be affected, including behaviour, emotion, planning, concentration, weight and motor coordination,” says Hillary Simon, principal physiotherapist at St Ives Physiotherapy & Sports Therapy.
7. Be active
Exercising at lunchtime when it’s warmer will ensure you keep on top of your fitness this season, says local health and fitness expert, personal trainer GI Jane. “A gentle jog or a brisk walk up and down some hills (or stairs if they’re handy) at lunchtime will increase your energy levels and boost your mental productivity for the afternoon ahead.”