10 easy ways to fight the winter chill
The winter weather has finally arrived in London, and although we don't currently have snow (unlike some other parts of the UK), there's no denying it's cold! Here at Expertrain HQ we are huddled up with the heating on and our healthy soup, trying to keep warm, which got us thinking, if you're feeling the winter chill, how can you keep cosy? From whipping up a batch of warming soup to getting active, there are plenty of things you can do, so we've come up with 10 easy ways to fight the winter chill – we'd love to hear what you do to keep warm during the winter!
#1. Keep active
Top of our list has to be staying active. Ok, so you may need to spend most of your day at the office, but that doesn't mean you need to be sedentary all day long. In fact, sitting for long periods of time can lead to shoulder and neck pain or lower back pain that can be hard to shift and could do long-term damage. It's recommended we should all get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day – this could be as simple as going for a walk around the block at lunchtime to taking part in a lunchtime workout such as a yoga class. Or just try some light stretches at your desk so you don't feel so sluggish. Exercise gets your heart pumping blood around your body which can help fight off frosty fingers and toes, and it also gets your endorphins flowing, boosting your mood naturally and ensuring you feel more energetic – bonus!
#2. Make some soup
Lacking inspiration when it comes to healthy, warming dinners? You'll find plenty of recipes to choose from on our recipes page, but don't forget about soup – we have some really delicious ideas! Whether you're a meat eater, vegetarian or vegan, soup is a healthy, filling choice that makes a complete meal, with the addition of the right ingredients. Why not try a warming spicy butternut squash soup or a delicious chunky bean soup packed with kidney beans and chickpeas, to give you a protein boost and leave you feeling satisfied all afternoon? Soup is easy to take to work or to the gym too, so there are no excuses for not eating healthily on the go.
#3. Get layering
There's a reason why your mum made you wear a vest when you were little; it keeps you cosy! Layering your clothes protects you from the cold, and if your core is warm, your extremities such as your fingers and toes will stay pretty snug too! We recommend an under layer, a long sleeved top and then a knitted layer such as a fleece or jumper, if you're going to be outside. If you're exercising, a couple of light layers will ensure you're warm, and you can always take one off when your temperature starts to rise.
#4. Eat healthily
You might think it's hard to eat well during the winter months; after all, with the sun shining in the summer, it's easy to drink fresh fruit smoothies and eat salad. But salads aren't just for the summer – warming winter salads can be surprisingly comforting, and if you don't fancy salad, stick to warming dishes such as stews and soups with protein-packed beans and pulses to leave you feeling full. Your body needs extra nourishment during the winter months, but that's not an excuse to chow down on chocolate bars and processed foods. It's just a case of spending a bit more time cooking than you might during the warmer weather – why not try some of our 15-minute meals if you're looking for inspiration?
#5. Use alternative heat sources
Having your central heating on constantly is not only expensive, it can be drying for your skin and hair, and whilst we all know we need to stay hydrated, drinking enough water in the winter months can be a challenge. Warm up your pad with alternative heat sources such as blankets, hot water bottles or even candles for a way to stay cosy on a budget, without the extortionate heating bill!
#6. Keep your head warm
You've probably head that we lose around 40-45% of body heat through our heads, but it's a myth and simply isn't true! In fact, according to a report in BMJ in 2008, we lose around 7-10% of body heat through our heads (1), but this doesn't mean that wearing a hat won't help to keep you cosy! If it's raining, snowing or just frosty outside, a hat protects your head and ears from the elements and can help you to feel warm and toasty.
#7. Join the gym
Working out at the gym isn't only a great way to keep fit and get access to all that equipment, if you choose the right gym it's also the perfect play to enjoy the sauna, jacuzzi or pool. When the temperature has dropped below freezing outside, you can warm up after you've worked out and leave the gym with a nice toasty glow. Yes!
#8. Have hot beverages
Hot beverages are a saviour for many people during the winter months, but whilst tea and coffee are the traditional choices, there are healthier options available if you are avoiding caffeine or just don't like the taste. Herbal teas and Rooibos tea (made from the Redbush plant) are naturally caffeine free and come in a range of flavours. Try chamomile and honey for a relaxing bedtime drink or warming fruit flavours to get you going if you're not a morning person! Green tea is another great alternative; although it does contain some caffeine, it is packed with antioxidants and can help to detoxify your body. If hot chocolate is your drink of choice, try swapping processed and refined chocolate powders for organic cocoa or cacao powder, which is unrefined and 100% natural. Mixed with warmed cow's milk or a dairy-free alternative such as almond milk, this is a lovely warming drink for a winter's night.
#9. Get enough sleep
Ever felt that shivery sensation when you're over tired? That's not just your body being cold, it's a sign that you need sleep! Making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep a night can help your body to function optimally, which includes regulating your temperature and keeping you warm. Making sure you get plenty of sleep can also help you concentrate at work and means you're less likely to get stressed!
#10. Go on holiday
It might seem extreme, but if you're really fed up with the cold weather, why not celebrate Christmas abroad this year? In Australia, it's almost summer time, so you could enjoy a BBQ on the beach, whilst countries such as Dubai are seeing temperatures sky rocket too, so you could sunbathe whilst everyone back in the UK is bundled up against the cold! If you're feeling especially adventurous, why not book an activity holiday?
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