This was a tough subject for me to write about as, whilst I am totally behind the ‘saying’, I have struggled every winter to make it a reality. So before writing about something I don’t live by myself, I thought I had to at least start to practice what I am preaching!
When I lived in the UK, June through to August were my favourite months of the year because after what seemed like a lifetime of winter, it was finally summer. Those who know the UK weather will know that summer doesn’t necessarily mean lots of sun. Even on the colder and rainy days, you got to enjoy longer days of at least some sunshine! Now I am living in SA, the same months have become my months of hibernation and tend to consist of a lot more food consumption, very little exercise and a lot of series binge-ing on Netflix!
Then when Spring appears I am feeling less prepared than ever having gained a few kgs, lost any muscle definition I may have had and, to top it all off, having translucent dry skin.
So I throw myself back into the gym (after using a tub of exfoliator, layering on the fake tan and getting a pedi) and vow only to eat lettuce for a month! And due to the fact I have done so little over the winter months, it takes a whole lot of time to get back into a healthy routine and then more time before I start seeing results.
This winter I decided I am not going to hibernate, not going to slack off the gym and instead going to approach the winter with a ‘not getting me down’ attitude. Now that I am about 4 weeks into this new regime, I thought I would share my 6 top tips!
I guess this really does apply to all seasons, but again I do tend to stay up a little later in winter (just one more episode…..then bed…3 hours later still watching) which means I struggle to get up in the morning. To date, it’s working. I wouldn’t say I am jumping out of bed at great speed but having had a good night’s sleep, I am definitely becoming more human faster than usual which is allowing for morning gym sessions.
I am pretty good at drinking a lot of water throughout the year, but the amount does tend to decrease a little in winter as it’s so much more comforting to opt for a hot drink instead. I am also less thirsty in winter. But after reading about all the benefits of water consumption in winter, this season I am drinking more than ever! Due to the cold air containing less moisture than warm air, our lungs take moisture from our body to moisturise the air so in actual fact we probably need to consume more than in summer. We also don’t see the sweat to the same extent making us believe we may not be sweating as much but in fact it’s just evaporating faster in cold weather so we need to rehydrate ourselves just as much! Keeping up our water consumption helps keep our skin glowing, helps fight the winter weight gain, gives us more energy and protects our immune system! Hard to argue with that really!
Hibernation is all too popular in winter. It is so easy to just to stay indoors, but getting out really does do wonders - whether it’s a casual stroll, a brisk hike or something far more strenuous! The fresh air increases the flow of oxygen which helps digestion, strengthens your immune system and increases the amount of serotonin which is the happy hormone!
This for me was critical as I do tend to find any excuse in the world for not going to the gym in winter so committing to meeting someone there has increased my attendance tenfold! Plus, it is so much more fun training with someone else! I also find that just going for a walk with the kids or my husband makes the time fly as you have your daily catch up on the move and before you realise it you have walked quite a distance!
I am guilty of not looking after my skin in winter. With the exception of my daily routine for my face, I tend to forego the rest as it is hidden under so many layers. But this winter I am trying to fight those pesky drying elements of winter!
Firstly the exercise helps for ensuring you stay well groomed in winter as working up a sweat certainly has you shedding the clothing layers quickly exposing so much skin …. and the sight of my toes in a downward dog on my Yoga days is enough motivation to keep my toes in tip top shape too!
So buy (or make) yourself a few face masks and upgrade your body moisturiser and maintain that feel good skin! If you are as pasty as me in skin colour, then also apply some fake tan as for some reason it makes you look a little leaner and the glow of fake sun kissed skin does wonders for your appearance.
I do look for any opportunity to justify my shopping/pampering habits so I linked my exercise regime to my own reward scheme! Firstly I bought a new cozzie for summer, one of which trying on now made me want to cry …. BUT it is now my magic motivation as every time I go to the gym, I know I am making my body a little bit more ready for that cozzie come summer! I have also linked treats like a massage and a pedi to my gym frequency so if I hit certain benchmarks over the course of winter I get rewards!
And finally HAVE FUN and recognize that you don’t have to push yourself to ridiculous levels, if you did nothing last winter then just going at all means you have improved on the year before! I am loving my new regime but know that I am still eating chocolate, drinking a few glasses of wine and still have a few ‘pull duvet over head days’!! I am still me after all!