Secrets to a healthy and happy winter

As the temperature drops and the days become darker, it can be easy to eat more, do less and go into ‘hibernation’ mode. But being proactive about our health is key to feeling great as well as looking great too.

1Winterised workout

It can be hard to find the motivation to make it to the gym when it’s cold outside, but it’s important to remember that keeping active during the winter is essential. Any activity that contributes to overall fitness can boost wellbeing and mood. If you really can’t find the incentive to brave the elements and have access to an indoor pool, then swimming is a great exercise for boosting mental as well as our physical health, with research showing that swimmers tend to live longer and have better moods than people who don’t exercise.

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3Everything starts with breakfast

When we wake up in the morning our muscles and brain need fuel to face the day ahead. I love eating bircher muesli with oats, nuts, apples and berries or a smoked salmon omelette packed with protein, vitamin D and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Researchers from Harvard University have also confirmed that eating a healthy breakfast regularly can help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol – factors which can give rise to heart disease.

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5Get checked

Socialising and spending quality time with friends and family is a central part of the festive season, so having a hearing check is key to ensuring you or a family member doesn’t miss out this Christmas. People with mild to significant hearing loss are between two and five times more likely to develop dementia so there’s ever more reason to seek help sooner. Take advantage of a free hearing test at one of Hidden Hearing’s high street hearing centres. Visit www.HiddenHearing.co.uk for more information or to book a free hearing test.

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7Drink up

The cold weather and drying radiator heat can lead to dehydration and fatigue. Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day. This will help to boost your energy levels, improve blood circulation and
flush out toxins from the body. Regular teas and coffee count towards your fluid intake, but caffeinated versions shouldn’t make up your full quota so try a hot water with a squeeze of lemon or fresh mint as a hydrating alternative.

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9Catch some Zs

A good night’s sleep is vital for refreshing and repairing our mind and body. Next to washing our hands, getting enough sleep might be one of the most effective ways to avoid a cold or the flu. Getting a good eight hours of sleep each night keeps your immune system strong, so you’re less likely to catch whatever it is that’s making its way round your office or home!

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11Avoid the festive food coma

Gobbling down a large meal diverts blood from the rest of our body to our digestive system in order to break down food. This can leave us feeling sluggish, so try sticking to normal sized plate portions and chewing slowly. Not only will this ensure that you digest your food properly, but also give your brain the chance to tell your belly that it’s full. Sensible snacking throughout the day can also help you to avoid over-eating at dinner times. Try a handful of unsalted nuts or a small bowl of plain yogurt with sliced banana as these provide a great source of protein to help slow stomach emptying.

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13Wrap up warm

Did you know that staying warm is a surprising secret to feeling merry? Being cold can make us feel sluggish because our bodily functions slow down in attempt to retain heat. So bundle up to feel recharged! Hot drinks help to raise our core temperature but try to avoid adding your favourite tipple as this actually drops our body temperature so skip the ‘hot toddy’ and opt for your favourite herbal tea instead.

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