How to bolster your defences and have a healthy season

Winter-proof your wellbeing
Winter-proof your wellbeing
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October’s arrived and with it the inevitable darker evenings and cold misty mornings.

It means winter’s just around the corner, with all its bugs, runny noses, chilblains and miserable vitamin D-deprived weeks.

But you can take steps to boost your wellbeing now.

While cosy slippers may be far more tempting than trainers once the temperatures drop, exercise can boost winter wellbeing in countless ways.

‘With the seasons changing and it getting darker, motivating yourself to keep exercising is even more difficult than usual,’ says fitness instructor Richard Smith from British Military Fitness (BMF), which runs outdoor boot camp-style fitness classes.

‘But when you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which keep the blues at bay.

‘Exercising outdoors will enhance the positive impact because, even though the sun might not be visible, your skin will absorb some vitamin D.’

Smith suggests finding an exercise buddy to help with motivation.

While autumn might feel like the season to indulge in comfort foods, it’s essential for wellbeing to continue paying attention to your diet.

‘If you feel the winter blues gets the better of you, look at your sugar intake,’ suggests wellbeing expert and complementary therapist Annie Aulds. ‘A high sugar intake puts your body under unnecessary stress, and plays havoc with your mood.’

‘Balance sugar levels by consuming complex carbohydrates (oats, wholegrains, nuts and brown rice) and limiting simple carbohydrates, like crisps, biscuits and cakes, and your energy levels will noticeably improve.’

It’s also important to eat foods rich in vitamin D.

A healthy, balanced diet will give you all the nutrients you need. But with our busy and hectic lifestyles, this is not always a reality.

Supplements could be beneficial for topping up on nutrients during winter.

Aulds recommends a daily supplement that contains vitamin D.

Echinacea could help with preventing colds and reducing symptoms.

Vitamin C can help reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms; selenium could be beneficial for helping keep viral infections at bay, while zinc stimulates immune cell activity in the throat.