Health Plus: Don’t be an unfit vampire this winter

Nutritionist Simon Bandy from Seaford-based supplements company Health Plus gives his advice on staying healthy when the shorter, darker days of winter roll in.

Recently, I’ve seen lots of people running past my window training for the upcoming Beachy Head marathon and it’s got me thinking about how important it is to keep active in the autumn and winter.

Exercising outdoors not only means that you get to see ever-changing scenery as opposed to the same four walls of the gym, but it also has many more health benefits.

When running outdoors, your whole technique changes, whether you realise it or not. Your stride will become slightly longer, speed a bit faster and your ankles will flex slightly differently across the variety of terrains.

This generally means that you are more likely to burn more calories and raise your endurance levels.

By challenging yourself in the cold weather, you are helping to strengthen your heart, lungs and circulatory system; so basically, your overall health will improve! Breathing in crisp, cool fresh air instead of climate-controlled air conditioning can help to increase oxygen levels whilst improving your circulation and blood system.

Some research has shown that some people just feel better exercising outside. Whether it’s due to the scenery or being ‘closer to nature’, being in the fresh air should give you higher levels of enthusiasm and self-esteem. Another huge benefit of exercising outdoors in the winter is that you will top up levels of vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’, which can help to prevent seasonal affective disorder by raising serotonin levels.

In fact, 21st week, which aims to raise the profile of the importance of Vitamin D, including banishing the myths on how easy it is to get the amount we need.

Staying on the move will help to keep you warm when outside, but it’s important to keep extremities warm. So, wear a hat that covers your ears, gloves and decent warm socks. Layer up too so as you warm up, you can strip off. Just remember that there’s nothing quite like getting that cold-weather rosy glow in your cheeks.

Simon Bandy is a natural supplements expert for Health Plus; a Seaford based business established over 20 years ago with a mission to promote optimum nutrition across the world.