In colder climates, at this time of the year people are prone to winter depression (seasonal affective disorder). One of its effects is weight gain. This can be disruptive for those on a weightloss program.
This season’s go-to foods are usually energy-dense, which tend to be sweeter and fattier and are therefore high in calories. The cold keeps you indoors, away from the sunlight. The lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage.
While October is more pleasant, allowing people to enjoy long walks, those of us up north are heading into the coldest months of the season, when we prefer staying on the sofa, watching TV and eating junk. Less active, our metabolism slows. Here are some tips to kick-start it:
The key is to eat more home-cooked food rather than processed food and beverages. Ensure you have five portions of fruits and vegetables daily. Satisfy your food cravings with healthier alternatives – if you desire something sweet, eat dry fruits like dates and raisins, and choose vegetable soup over any other bottled beverages.
Stick to small portions but frequent meals to improve your metabolic rate.
Stay on the move
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Increase your exercise warm-up time as when the temperature drops, your muscles tend to become stiff. Include more stretching exercises to beat that. I would also up the time spent on or add aerobic activities which will help to burn more calories.
Apart from exercising, it’s important to keep active at other times during this season. Do gardening work, walk don’t drive to the nearby store, walk your dog, use the stairs instead of elevators at work, in the mall or at home. I’d even recommend buying a cycle. All of this helps burn extra calories and maintain your metabolic rate which, because of the weather, lowers this time of year.
Winters is also marathon season, with a lot of first time marathoners hoping to make it to the end zone. If this is your first time and you’re training for the marathon, make sure you’re dressed warmly and with the right shoes. For a firm grip, try shoes with studs. For those of you who’re in general training, stay indoors and use the treadmill, stationary bike and weight training to keep your heart rate up.