This time of year is when illness, injury, and festivities can get in the way of exercising and sport. But, we’re here to ensure that nothing holds you back! Supercharge your defences with our checklist to keep your health in tip-top condition this winter:
1. KEEP EXERCISING
It’s cold, the mornings and evenings are dark and it’s generally harder to get out of bed. We know.
But the benefits of exercise are endless. It’s good for your physical and mental health and it’s a good way to de-stress. Our tip to make sure your exercise routine doesn’t slump during this cold spell is to have a backup plan.
If the weather is bad and you don’t fancy a run in the cold and wet, head to the gym instead and switch your focus to improving those key muscle groups instead
2. MAKE A PLAN
Whilst exercise is important, it’s just as important to be realistic with it. Winter can be a busy season with festivities and it’s easy to take on too much, especially when the days are shorter, and burn out.
We recommend making a training plan for the next few months – that way you can judge how much time you’ll have and work in your training accordingly.
Once you’ve made a realistic training plan – stick to it and don’t overdo it. That’s when illness can strike!
3. STAY WARM
Don’t get cold this winter! A tip to staying warm when training? Hot drinks.
Sports drinks are often consumed cold but who says that’s the only way. We’re a big fan of ZERO and ZERO Protect hot. Just add a tab to a flask or have it for a post-workout treat.
4. WINTERISE YOUR GEAR
Despite the cold weather, you will sweat during exercise but when you start out it’s easy to get cold, which will mean it’s harder to warm up.
Don’t begin shivering – go out prepared in gloves, hats, thick leggings, and multiple layers that you can remove as you go.
And, don’t forget safety. With the cold weather comes dark mornings and dark evenings so it’s time to dig out or invest in high-visibility reflective gear to ensure you’re seen by oncoming pedestrians and traffic.
5. STAY HYDRATED
During exercise, not only does your body lose water but also important electrolytes which your body needs to keep moving and stay hydrated.
It’s easy to forget about hydration when the weather is cold but with cold weather comes more clothing and when you’re exercising with layers, you’ll still sweat and lose vital electrolytes.
Add a ZERO electrolyte tab to your water bottle during exercise to keep hydrated.
6. ALLOW YOUR MUSCLES TO RECOVER
Avoid injury by giving your muscles the protein they need to recover. Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass so opt for a post-exercise recovery drink.
In the spirit of tip no.4, reward yourself with an indulgent hot chocolate recovery drink. Simply warm up some milk (but don’t bring it to a boil) and mix it with our Recovery Drink Chocolate powder. For an extra treat, add marshmallows!
Like your post-recovery drinks cold? No problem. We’ve also got some satisfying smoothie recipes.
7. SLEEP WELL
While we’re not suggesting you should hibernate during the winter, we do think getting plenty of sleep is important.
Run coaches, Running with Us, recommend increasing your sleep in the run-up to a marathon or half marathon.
8. GET THOSE HEALTH FOODS IN
Try to eat a wide variety of fruit and veg, the more variation, the more vitamins and minerals you will consume, which boosts your immune system.
Also consider getting ingredients like ginger, turmeric, and echinacea into your diet.
9. TOP-UP ON VITAMIN C
Vitamin C has lots of health benefits but in particular, it can contribute to the maintenance of the normal function of the immune system during and after intense physical exercise. Consider taking a supplement like ZERO Protect to ensure you’re getting your daily allowance.
10. SUPPLEMENT WITH VITAMIN D3
Because there’s less sun in the winter months and the days are shorter, we don’t get as much vitamin D. Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system so think about supplementing your diet with this key vitamin.