Now Christmas with its many indulgences is behind us, many of us are feeling less than fit and active, and the dark days of January stretch ahead. Our systems feel sluggish and it’s very hard to get motivated, let alone find the will power to lose those extra pounds or start a new exercise regime. Did you know studies suggest most people gain around 5lb (2kg) over the Christmas period? So what can you do to improve things and find some energy and motivation – and throw off those winter blues?
Exercise is vital to stop our metabolism slowing down, and to lose that sluggish feeling. Can’t face the gym? Then there are several ways you can improve things by just making a few simple choices. For example, use the stairs not the lift. Park further away than you normally would from work or the shops, and walk briskly. Half an hour a day is all you need to feel an improvement. Going out for a cycle ride or a good walk at the weekend might require some effort, but you’ll certainly feel better for it!
Another really important factor is light, which is in fairly short supply during the winter months. We need to be exposed to a certain amount of light each day to function well. Some people are very affected by low light levels and suffer from SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Make a point of going out for a walk at lunchtime on sunny days, or finding a sunny spot to sit so you get some light exposure. It really can help lift your mood – staying indoors in artificially lit rooms is not the same.
Next you can think about giving your system a bit of a clean. Having overloaded on all the seasonal cheer and plenty of Christmas booze this is always a good time to undertake a gentle detox programme – and although most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to tuck ourselves away for a couple of weeks in some luxury spa resort whilst we do this, we can still reap the benefits of more energy, clearer skin, less bloating, flatter tummy and even losing some weight by shedding some of our toxic load.
We live in a toxic world, and are daily exposed to a cocktail of toxins in the form of pesticides in our food, pollution, chemicals in our toiletries and household products, preservatives, additives, drugs (legal and illegal!) as well as heavy metals and our less than perfect diets, which produce a lot of acidic waste in the body. Quite a lot for our liver to cope with each day, so the odd bit of support doesn’t go amiss!
I love the way I feel after a cleanse and undertake them at regular intervals, using a combination of herbal products which means I can carry on as normal – most important as life with all its challenges doesn’t go away!! Ideally any cleanse you undertake will have more than just a laxative effect – you’re more than just a colon you know! A whole body cleanse which supports the liver and kidneys, cleanses the blood and encourages a cellular detox as well as cleaning out the colon is best. Products are available which do all this.
On top of this you have to think about what you are eating – lightening your diet for the duration is a must. What constitutes a good diet is a topic in itself, but lots of saturated fat, sugar, refined and processed foods and, of course, caffeine and booze won’t be doing you any great favours, so cut them right back.
Another simple but effective choice is to drink more water – dehydration causes lots of problems and if you drink mainly tea and coffee you are definitely dehydrated! Lots of good clean water can help you to feel brighter, think more clearly and improve your skin tone. Experiment with herb and fruit teas as well, there’s bound to be something you like amongst them. Another good hot drink for winter months is lemon juice in hot water – for an extra zing you can add some ginger (good for the circulation!).
Winter doesn’t have the feel good factor we associate with summer, but that doesn’t mean to say we have to drag ourselves through it. A little bit of effort and a few simple strategies can keep us energized and active.
© Saira Salmon 2008