It can be tough to keep healthy, especially when all you really want to do is to hunker down and hibernate at home.
But even as the days get darker and the temperatures head towards freezing, there are plenty of ways to adjust to the new season and continue to take good care of ourselves.
Here are our top tips for persevering with your healthy lifestyle this winter, so you can keep your body and mind in tip top shape even as the seasons begin to change.
Wake up to a wake-up light
If you took up outdoor activities like walking, running, or biking during the warmer weather, you might now be struggling to get out of bed to exercise on these dark winter mornings.
Using a wake-up light instead of a regular alarm can help with that. By gradually lighting up every morning, it wakes you up slowly, even when it’s dark outside.
You’ll awake feeling less frazzled, more rested, and totally ready for the day and all the activities you have planned. You can also adjust your training schedule to change your workouts to times when it is still light out.
Protect yourself with layers
Winter weather can be tempestuous. One day the streets are freezing over and the snow is coming down, another day the sun is shining and the chilly air feels fresh and raw.
Of course, as someone once said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. So if you’re keeping up your outdoor activities, learn to protect yourself with layers. Choose inner layers that pull moisture away from your skin, a middle layer that will trap warmth, and outer layers to keep the wind, rain, and snow out.
Make sure to cover any other exposed skin with a toque, scarf and mittens, and wear shoes that are waterproof and provide some grip on that ice.
Be bright and reflective
As winter draws on, the hours of daylight available for outdoor exercise get shorter, so you might find yourself heading outside after dark.
If you do, stay safe by making yourself highly noticeable to cyclists and drivers who might not see you as the pitch black night descends.
Pretty much every item of athletic gear you can own now comes with a reflective option, from running shoes to cycling helmets. You can even try a headlamp to make sure you can be seen clearly.
Learn a winter sport
Instead of continuing your usual exercise, why not adapt your workouts to the weather?
In winter, there are endless activities available on the snowy mountains or icy lakes. Try tobogganing, snowshoeing, skiing, skating and snowboarding.
Of course, if you’re really stuck for options, there’s also exercise to be had right outside your door. Those snowy sidewalks won’t shovel themselves!
Take up indoor exercise
Sure, gyms can be expensive and a bit intimidating, especially if you haven’t been for a while. But when the temperatures drop, they can be a great place to keep active and warm.
Or, if you can’t face venturing out into the cold for one moment, find a workout video on YouTube or download a workout app and exercise in the comfort of your own home. Depending on your tech, these apps and videos can stream timed video demos for each exercise to your TV. All you have to do is follow along.
Embrace the sauna experience
There will probably come a point this winter when the cold starts to feel like it’s in your bones. Thankfully, the Finnish came up with a solution: hot saunas.
Saunas won’t just warm you up. They may also reduce your risk of high blood pressure and pneumonia, and even temporarily relieve the common cold. Steam rooms are also a great place to get warm on a freezing day and will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed – whatever the weather.
Keep yourself watered
We know it’s cold outside. Snow is covering the sidewalks, and you just want to huddle up with a hot chocolate. You really, really don’t feel like drinking some cool, refreshing water.
But water is still essential to life, even in the winter. Water helps our brain function, lubricates our joints, regulates our temperature, helps digest our food and much more. Without enough water, we become dehydrated. And in winter, lack of water can also lead to eczema as the temperature change, windy weather and indoor heating all dry out your skin.
To stay hydrated, Health Canada recommends making water our drink of choice, cold or hot. Try adding chopped apples and a stick of cinnamon for flavour.
Enjoy the winter harvest
Even in winter, the land keeps on giving and you can enjoy plenty of delicious, seasonal fruits and vegetables, packed full of nutrients.
In Canada, we love our arugula, beets, bok choy, lentils, beans, sprouts, leeks, cabbage, carrots, kale, microgreens, parsnips, turnips, mushrooms, apples and squash.
This tasty produce means you can get plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and can help lower your risk of heart disease. So go on — shop seasonal!
Fight the winter blues
As the days grow shorter and darker, many of us will feel our mood change and the winter blues set in. But keeping up your active lifestyle can help fight that feeling.
Get outside whenever you can, even if it’s only for a lunchtime walk. Maximizing the amount of natural light in your life and keeping active will lift your spirits.
Get a wasabi boost
If you’d like to give your body an extra boost as you brace for winter, wasabi can help, thanks to the high level of glucosinolates it contains.
Glucosinolates are phytonutrients which release sulforaphan, which may aid digestion, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Usually these benefits are locked away in the wasabi plant, only released through chewing or grating, but at our family farm, we go one better. We use modern technology to dry and powder our real, organic wasabi, so it can be made into easily consumable capsules you can take on the go.
Whether you’re riding down snowy mountains, snuggling up at home or taking a chilly winter walk, our wasabi capsules are always here to help.