By Bridgetta Anderson

It’s easy to be motivated to get in shape when the weather is warm and the evenings are light and seem to go on forever.

But when it’s cold and dark outside, the temptation is to hibernate on the sofa with a glass of wine, exercising only to go to the fridge for indulgent snacks during the ad breaks of your favourite TV show.

However, if you want to avoid a very painful January – avoiding the scales and trying to ignore the fact the button has popped on your jeans – it makes sense to get your health mojo back before the end of the year, to keep those festive indulgences in check.

Here are five simple steps to start making positive health changes.

Do an alternative Spring clean

Clear out the cupboards and stock up on foods to promote Winter wellness. Stews, casseroles, soups and even warm salads are all healthy fillers. And spices such as cinnamon, paprika, turmeric and chilli powder add a bit of flavour while fighting off colds and flus.

Keep an Instagram diary

Social media can be used as a force for good, so use Instagram to take a photo every day of something you feel grateful for. Studies have shown that a gratitude journal lifts the mood and leads us to feel more refreshed, increasing the amount of time we spend exercising. If you’re not a fan of Insta or photography, you can simply write a daily list of three things.

Make the most of Winter sports

While Summer brings its own opportunities for walks in the park and playing frisbee outdoors, grab your chance to do some Winter activity – ice skating, skiing or even sledging if you’re lucky enough to get snow. If the weather doesn’t provide the best circumstances for sport, there are plenty of indoor rinks and slopes to try your luck.

Eat for the weather

When the weather is gloomy, you can expect to crave stodgy, sugary foods.

But try to keep yourself topped up with vitamins by choosing dishes containing wholegrains, oily fish, eggs, and dark green leafy vegetables. These will convert to energy and support a healthy nervous system.

Take a Vitamin D3 supplement to keep your spirits high. Or encourage the release of the feelgood hormone serotonin by eating foods rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which can be found in oats, bananas, turkey and tofu.

Go for a jog

Yes, it sounds crazy when it’s so cold and wet outside.

But a bracing Winter breeze can be invigorating and prompt the body to release endorphins, putting you in a great mood.

Running in Winter can be hugely beneficial, for the mind as much as the body. Give it a try.


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