The holiday season is well and truly underway. It's that time of year for those crisp, cold mornings and overindulging in too many mince pies and glasses of mulled wine.
Every year, our health becomes more of a focus in the New Year. This could be due to setting New Year's resolutions, fewer social events/parties to attend, or simply due to the fact that the supermarkets and food outlets begin winding down certain indulgent offerings from their shelves. But as we know, our health should take priority all year round.
Despite a change in many of our lifestyles during the winter months, there are slight adjustments we can make to our daily lifestyle to improve our overall wellness and lose weight, without drastically changing our routines or missing out on all the festive parties before the New Year.
This blog post isn't about telling you to go to the gym every day, to not attend those parties or to refrain from overindulging in the festive treats that are littered throughout supermarket shelves and online. This blog post is primarily focused on highlighting some simple and easy healthy habits that you can integrate into your lifestyle this winter that can make a massive difference.
Quick and Easy Ways to Enhance Your Winter Wellness
Upping Your Step Count
Walking is often overlooked as a form of exercise, but this can be an extremely simple and effective way to improve overall wellness according to NHS England [i]. The current recommendation is 10,000 daily steps, but some data indicates that the average people do could be around the 3000-4000 mark currently in the US.
A JAMA Neurology study suggested that walking 10,000 steps a day could be linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases [iv].
10,000 steps a day can seem like an impossible task, but an accompanying piece of literature in JAMA suggests that for every 2,000 extra steps added on average per day could lower your risk of premature death by 8-11% [v].
There are plenty of ways to add extra steps to your day. Here are a few suggestions:
- Integrating a walk into your lunch hour could be a convenient option for a lot of people. A 20 min walk could add around 2000 steps to your total. Bonus points if you take your walk after you have eaten, as a 2008 study suggested that this could aid digestive health [ii]
- Associating your daily walks with a time that you get to listen to audiobooks, podcasts or music could be a great way to change any association of this task being a chore and instead turn this into something you look forward to.
- If you eat out for your work lunch or like to visit a coffee shop, then could you find somewhere different that's 5 mins further away from your office?
- Try to move every 30-60 mins. This is one of the 9 steps the NHS outlines to help us move more, which could lead to a boost in mood and make more exercise-related activities easier over time. Certain fitness trackers are also able to remind you to move every hour if this helps you to remember [iii].
In the UK adults aged between 19 to 64 should aim for 150 mins of moderate physical activity per week or 75 mins of intense activity according to guidelines set by NHS England [vi].
We did say that going to the gym wasn't going to be on this list of habits, and in fact, a brisk walk can be classed as a moderate physical activity, as is hiking, or even mowing the lawn. If you are looking for activities that fall into intense activity then try incorporating a run, swimming, spinning/riding a bike or football into your weekly routine.
Many of the activities that fall into these two categories can also boost your step count in the process. If you are looking to increase your steps and get closer to the 150 mins of exercise per week then look for activities that can do both at once.
Water is essential for the body to function properly, and it's important we remain hydrated throughout the day. The British Nutrition Foundation suggests that dehydration can impair cognitive function, reduce physical performance and in extreme cases can be fatal [viii].
In 2010 the EFSA reported that the average recommended daily intake of fluids for women should be 2 litres and 2.5 for men. This, however, includes fluid we take in from food too. With this information taken into account, the Eatwell Guide states that we should consume 6-8 cups a day, or 1.6 litres for women and 2 litres for men [vii].
A pint glass will hold about 550ml of water, whereas a typical bottle of water will hold around 500ml if this helps you to put into perspective what that amount looks like.
Try starting your day with a glass of water as soon as you get up and switching sugary drink options for water. Tracking your water consumption can be another useful way to stay on track and remind yourself of how much water you should be drinking daily.
You can also read our blog post here to learn more about how hydration can aid the symptoms that come with a hangover.
Taking Your Own Personalised Gummies at Nourished
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Want to Learn More About Vitamins to Add to a Healthy Diet?
To find out more about the ingredients, research and studies mentioned in this article then click the links listed below or visit the website research page here:
- [i] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/walking-for-health/
- [ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18392240/
- [iii] https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/get-active/
- [iv] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2795819
- [v] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2796058
- [vi] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults-aged-19-to-64/
- [vii] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/the-eatwell-guide/
- [viii] https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthy-sustainable-diets/hydration/?level=Health%20professional