Healthspan November 01, 2017

It’s winter again and - despite knowing that exercise is doable in the dark, or that hibernating from the cold weather isn’t obligatory – we’re all entering into a health hibernation.

Fortunately, this isn’t all our fault. There’s scientific proof that when winter comes we’re guaranteed to get unhealthier due to falling into bad habits. According to a study by University of Exeter – for example - ‘People have evolved to have subconscious urges to over-eat, and limited ability to avoid becoming obese, especially in winter (1) ’. It’s all because our bodies – being genetically programmed to store weight as a survival mechanism – haven’t yet evolved to cope with overeating. Being underweight is still more of a threat to us than being overweight.

As for exercise, we’re significantly less inspired to go outside than in summer. We do whatever we can to avoid the cold which results in boredom and more time to eat. We also have big Christmas jumpers to fill so vanity doesn’t play as big a part in our health goals as it does during the summer. It’s not all bad though! Research shows cold weather burns more calories because it activates brown fat which burns white fat, and white fat is the one you want less of (2).

The post-holiday season is also a recipe for negative mood changes. We’re all destined to feel a bit sad about the end of long summer days and beach BBQs – even if they were rainy ones! For a small percentage of people this might bring on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression specific to autumn and winter. But for others – not experiencing the latter - their mood can still suffer leaving them feeling a bit down in the dumps.

There’s a lot of factors that put our health and wellbeing at a disadvantage in winter. But preparing for these factors and making the effort to work against them will mean you stay just as healthy in winter as you were in summer.

We’ve put together a winter wellness guide for this very reason. From winter soup recipes for immunity, to dealing with a change in mood come January, to joint health and dry eyes – we’ve got all the information you need to stay healthy and happy throughout winter. We’ve even got advice when it comes to the immunity of your beloved pets!

Man flu, stress, staying active in cold weather, learning to embrace hyyge, ikigai and lagom, why vitamin C will help keep your immune system in working order – it’s all here and it’s all going to help you be the best that you can be, even if stepping out the front door means wearing a woolly hat and a raincoat to protect you against the British winter that’s finally arrived.

On another note – cold weather does make you really appreciate those sunny, crisp winter days despite them being few and far between. And aside from health and wellbeing, autumnal dog walks, pre-Christmas excitement, log fires, and the occasional mince pie with a glass of mulled wine are just a few of the joys that you can look forward to this season!

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.



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