A personal trainer and qualified nutritionist from Northampton has offered advice on how to stay healthy and active during darker, colder winter months.
Tristan Stowe, who owns The Bar Training, in Kings Heath, appreciates that it can be more difficult to get moving or eat healthily when it is miserable outside.
To help those who may struggle in the winter, the 33-year-old has offered five top tips on how to stay healthy.
The trainers tips are:
1. Take supplements with Vitamin D
Tristan said: “The easiest way to up your Vitamin D levels is through natural daylight, but when living in the UK with only nine hours of daylight and working indoors, that’s not so easy.
“Getting enough Vitamin D in our diet is actually pretty difficult.
“To get what is often prescribed as a ‘safe daily maintenance dose’ for people with low levels (2500Iu), you would need to eat 143 large eggs a day.
“I would recommend supplementing with 1000iu-2000IU of Vitamin D per day in the winter period.
“It’s very safe to take and has loads of benefits on our physical and mental health – Vitamin D can help reduce depressive symptoms and boost our immune system.
“To get a more accurate idea of your levels, a blood test from your GP or a nutritionist like myself could then give you more specific recommendations on how to up your daily intake.”
2. Prioritise vegetables in hearty winter recipes
Tristan added: “With the cold temperatures, it’s no wonder why we all turn to comfort food in the wintertime.
“It’s important to still make good food choices so that you can keep all of the important vitamins and minerals in your diet.
“One easy way is to switch to more hearty recipes that are perfect for those dark cold nights. “Think casseroles, stews and soups, which you can pop in the slow cooker and pack full of root vegetables and nutrients.”
3. Increase your light exposure throughout the day
Tristan continued: “Now we have fewer daylight hours, we need to make sure we make the most of it so that it doesn’t impact our sleep, mood and stress levels.
“Try and get outside for at least 20 minutes a day either in the morning or at lunch time - even if it’s cold and miserable.
“If you’re struggling with waking up to dark mornings, you could consider investing in a daylight lamp or alarm clock that acts as an artificial sunrise to gradually increase light in your room.
“This can help regulate what’s called our circadian rhythm, improving energy levels when we wake and how we sleep.”
4. Less caffeine, more water
“With the frosty temperatures, you may find yourself turning to coffees more often,” Tristan said.
“The potential issue with too much caffeine is this can leave you feeling burnt out and impact your quality of sleep.
“Try to limit how much caffeine your drink and keep it all to before 3pm to help ensure you can still get a better night’s sleep.
“You could also stock up on other hot drink alternatives – hot chocolates, herbal tea or decaf alternatives.
“It's still important to stay hydrated in the winter and another easy way to get into a routine is to drink a glass of water when you first wake up.
“This would partner well with remembering to take your vitamins each morning.”
5. Exercise when or where you can
Tristan added: “You may lose some motivation to exercise in the cold but it’s still important to try and squeeze some in if you can.
“Switching to indoor workouts is a simple way to avoid the cold or if you want to kill two birds with one stone maybe invest in some warmer clothes to workout outdoors while it’s light.
“If you prefer training in the morning, get your clothes ready the night before so that it’s one less decision you need to make when you wake up.
“These little things will increase the chances of you getting up and working out.”
Follow Tristan on Instagram @thebar_tristan