Healthy ideas for winter

Healthy ideas for winter

By Balance by Deborah Hutton Team

With winter weather setting in, you may find yourself eating more and moving less, however experts at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health are encouraging people to think creatively and mix it up when it comes to their health.

One of the keys, says Jean Hailes accredited dietitian Terrill Bruere, is to change your exercise routine to suit the season. “Try a class such as yoga or tai chi where you can exercise indoors,” she says. “Or dig out the old treadmill or exercise bike and use that in the comfort of your home.”

Another tip, according to Jean Hailes continence physiotherapist Janetta Webb, is to use the cold weather to your advantage. “Rug up and feel the glow in your cheeks – you’ll feel great for the rest of the day,” she says, adding: “It’s important to exercise safely during cold weather. This includes dressing in layers while you exercise and protecting your feet, hands and ears against the cold.”

And don’t forget that exercise is an excellent way to warm you up. “If you have a dog, grab the lead and head on out,” says Jean Hailes endocrinologist Dr Sonia Davison. “You’ll both get some exercise, time out and a dose of vitamin D at the same time.”

To get the recommended amount of vitamin D during winter you need to expose your face, arms, hands or legs to the sun for 30 minutes outside peak UV times (10-2 or 11-3 daylight savings time). People with darker skin may need longer sun exposure.

One way to turn being confined indoors to your advantage is to ensure you plan your time. Jean Hailes Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University, Jane Fisher, says tension and conflict can arise when people spend time in confined spaces.

“It takes planning to make time with your family pleasurable and productive for everyone,” she says. “If you have children this can involve cooking a meal, watching a movie or playing a game together. This is useful if you are visiting a sick or older relative as well. Try reading aloud, doing a crossword puzzle or listening to music together.”

Jean Hailes’ top tips to get you through winter

  • Change your activity to suit the season
  • You’ll need longer outdoors in the middle of the day to get enough vitamin D
  • Cook hearty soups and casseroles with winter veggies, stew fruit with spices and serve with yoghurt or homemade custard and honey
  • Try different warming drinks to keep up your fluids – try chai or herbal tea, miso soup or hot water and lemon
  • Commit to exercising with a friend (human or four-legged!) for fun, fitness and company
  • Dress in layers and protect your legs, arms and ears while exercising outdoors
  • Use the time to connect with friends and loved ones in a meaningful and positive way


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