Staying healthy through winter

3 min read
26 Nov 2017
3 min read
834 words
Winter is upon us and it’s high time we made some changes to our day-to-day activities to ensure overall wellness

Winter is upon us, and it's high time that we made some changes to our day-to-day activities to ensure overall wellness. This week, I give you some suggestions on how you can stay motivated to work out, maintain great skin and build better immunity.

Work against the grain

Most of us are inclined to sleep in late under warm blankets, or rush home after work, instead of having an evening sweat session. This, however, isn't the best of ideas, and we should push ourselves and continue exercising. Here, I provide you the reasons for why you need to stay motivated to keep working out--especially in the winter.

  • More calorie burn: It is common knowledge that working out in low temperatures will burn more calories--up to more than 50 per cent--as compared to doing the same thing during summer. Make sure that you start slow until you get warm, and subsequently increase the intensity.
  • Maintain your fitness: Note that if you spend most, or all, of winter not exercising, it will be difficult for you to whip yourself into shape later. Moreover, the inactivity will increase your chances of getting workout injuries when you decide to return to the gym and work on your 'summer bod'.
  • Fight against cold-induced illnesses: Looking for a foolproof way to prevent your falling victim to illnesses such as the common cold? Exercise! After all, any form of exercise, at any time, is always good for your overall fitness and wellness. 

Tips for exercising

  • If going out in the cold is not your thing, pick up indoor sports. You can choose to cycle or jog indoors, and try bodyweight workouts at home.
  • Proper attire is crucial. Layering is something that most of us do to stay warm, but remember that overdressing will lead to excessive perspiring, which can result in chills and discomfort. You can look for gym clothes made of polypropylene, as that is the perfect fabric to wear underneath a tracksuit because of its ability to provide great insulation while keeping moisture loss at a minimum.
  • If your cold infection is above the neck (in your nose, throat, etc), we recommend that you continue with low-intensity exercises. However, if your symptoms are worse than an average cold (chest congestion, muscle aches), then exercise will only make it worse and be an obstacle to recovery. Rest is sometimes the best medicine.

Proper skin care

Heaters and air conditioners can cause your skin to dry up. It is thus important to take extra care of your skin during the winter. 

  • Choose your face wash wisely: Dr Jebina Lama from The Skin Clinic, Naxal, advises that we choose face washes made for mild and sensitive skin, instead of harsh face washes that contain glycolic acid and salicylic acid at highly concentrated levels. She further recommends that you should opt for a face wash containing ingredients like sunflower- or cucumber-seed oil, glycerin, oatmeal and chamomile extract, all of which prevent your skin from drying up.
  • The right moisturiser is key: For winter, you should choose oil-based products rather than water-based solutions, except for oily, acne-prone skin. To provide hydration for longer periods, says Dr Lama, you can even add another layer of moisturiser. Keep in mind that a good moisturiser should have emollients (lipids, oils), humectants (glycerin, lactic acid, urea), antioxidants (vitamin C and vitamin E) and occlusives (lanolin, jojoba oil, minerals).
  • Other skin care routines that help our skin survive winter include using a moisturising face mask twice a week, avoiding dry air (hot or cold), avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, using humidifiers at home and offices, and reducing the time spent in hot showers, as showers strip your skin off of its natural oils.
  • Make sure you drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Aim for at least eight glasses of water each day, or more, based on your lifestyle.

TIP: Need a warm drink? Try herbal teas (they help boost your immunity) instead of calorie- and sugar-laden barista coffee and hot chocolates. Prefer room temperature water but arenít drinking enough? Jazz it up! Squeeze a lemon, or add chia seeds, mint leaves, or your favourite seasonal fruits to your water.