The well-known sports brand says “Just Do It” but our team of experts agree that “Keep Doing It” should be your mantra for winter health and wellbeing.
Alarmingly, sitting on the couch drinking hot chocolate and watching Love Island to stay warm really can make you dumber.
“A sedentary lifestyle actually drives a decrease in brain activity,” says Alison Young from Innate Chiropractic Gladstone “And that leads to postural shifts and changes.”
“Exercising helps us to maintain good posture which keeps our body healthy, it keeps your oxygen levels high,” she said.
Exercising at a level where you can still talk, but you’re puffing as that’s the best measure that you are working your heart and lungs well, but if you’re changing your routine – swapping the surf-ski for the snow-ski – make sure variety doesn’t lead to arthroscopy:
“With different activities in the winter that you might not have done for a while, you have to be mindful of the risk of injury,” Alison said.
“Make sure you’re warming-up adequately and cool-down afterwards – general leg stretches, hamstrings, glutes, calves – and making sure you warm up your lower back if you’re doing something very strenuous like snow-skiing.”
Getting vaccinated for the flu virus can be an excellent idea for maintaining winter health – particularly if you’re in one of the at-risk groups, and these are more wide-ranging than you think, including children under five, people with chronic illnesses including diabetes, coronary disease and asthma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women and people aged 65 years and over.
Alongside a flu-shot, there are a number of immune-boosting remedies you can try:
“Astragalus, Echinacea and olive-leaf extract would be the three that tend to come to mind very quickly when you’re looking for something to boost your immune system,” Katrina Bailey from The Health Nut on Toolooa Street said.
“I start taking them about Easter time and then I just take it all the way through to July-August,” she said.
“I’m not going to say that it will stop the common cold – that would be a huge statement to make – but it boosts your immune system really well, so if you do get one, your body fights it better and you recover more quickly.”
“The other thing that helps along with high doses of vitamin C is something called Andrographis: that’s very good for sinuses and relieving symptoms in the upper respiratory tract,” she said.
And don’t let those forgiving tracksuit pants and onesies lead you into eating comfort food: “The other thing that is really important is maintaining nutritional health,” Innate’s Dr Young said.
“It is a lot easier in the summer when there are all the tropical fruits and salads are available – and eating seasonally is good- but you really have to make sure you’re getting the variety of different fruits and vegetables in the winter. Get your greens in!”