Better Health and Winter Wellness

We know how hard it is to stick to usual health and exercise routines during the winter and with changing coronavirus restrictions also making things tricky, it’s wise to start thinking about what you can do to keep healthy this winter.

Staying healthy by keeping active, eating a balanced diet, cutting back on alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and being smoke free keeps the immune system balanced and ready to fight infection and viruses, which is especially important at this time.

Dark nights and mornings can be a total turn-off when it comes to exercising, and when the chill bites it’s so tempting to dive into some comfort food. However coronavirus has made us all realise what’s really important to us – our family, friends and our health. For nearly all of us, coronavirus has meant that life has had to change and the lockdown, followed by restrictions has shown us that we can make and sustain changes to our lifestyles.

Keep active over the winter months

There’s no reason you need to take a break from physical activity when the temperature drops. In fact, exercising in cooler weather has some advantages over working out in warmer weather. Top tips to keep in mind are:

– No heat and humidity to deal with. Winter’s chill might even make you feel awake and invigorated.
– You may be able to work out longer in cold weather—which means you can burn even more calories.
– It’s a great way to take in the sunlight (in small doses). Not only can light improve many people’s moods, it also helps you get some vitamin D.
– Exercise boosts your immunity during cold and flu season. Just a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections.

However if you don’t fancy slogging through the wind, sleet and rain on your usual outdoor routine we have pulled together a long list of exercise ideas that can be done at home. Take a look at our stay in work out webpage to view the list which provides ideas for all ages and abilities.

Walking

If you would like to take a winter walk to keep active, visit our walking webpage for a list of local walks and useful information about each walk route listed. There is also the free ‘Active 10’ walking app and ‘Couch to 5k’ running app.  The Better Health website also hosts a range of tools and support to help you get healthy and active.

Cycling

Whether you’re a new rider or an experienced one, visit the Love to Ride website for useful tips and information for everyone. From helping you overcome a barrier to riding or to help boost your motivation!

Health Trainer support this winter

Throughout the coronavirus restrictions North Somerset Council’s Healthy Lifestyle service have continued to provide free health and wellbeing support to local residents and this is set to continue throughout the winter months.

Statistics from Public Health England show that nearly two thirds of adults in the UK are overweight or living with obesity. This extra weight causes pressure to build up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease and COVID-19.

But the good news is that in North Somerset we have help available from the Healthy Lifestyle Service. It can be difficult to stay healthy at the best of times but with free support from a health trainer, local couple Helen and Dave Gosling have got back on track with healthy eating, regular exercise and quitting smoking.

Helen and Dave, who live in Weston-super-Mare, explain how they have found the support provided during coronavirus restrictions:

“I’ve been bigger all my life – I just love food! But since I joined Carmen’s team with the North Somerset Health Trainers I’ve learnt so much about food, diet, and what healthy eating actually looks like on a daily basis,” says Helen, aged 40. “I’ve also lost four stone, quit smoking, binned the booze, incorporated regular exercise into my life and become so much healthier in just six months!

“I can’t thank Carmen enough for all the help and support especially though this terrible covid time! The first few weeks I drank and ate too much but with the regular support and contact with Carmen I was able to find better ways of dealing with the stress and got myself back on track. Honestly try this out it’s worth it and it really does make a difference!”

And Dave (who’s  67) added: “With Covid 19 starting I must admit I lost my drive to diet and soon put back on a stone! But thanks to Carmen calling and helping me I can honestly say I am back on track and I am back to the weight I was before this started. Carmen does not put you down but chats and makes you feel better. She talks to you without rebukes or telling off or making you feel bad, just a positive attitude to help. She has helped me to get back to my goal weight. She is a lovely lady with a positive outlook and has helped me AGAIN and I feel positive too. So much so that I am going to try and lose more weight. Thank you so much Carmen for all your help and positivity.”

Support from a Health Trainer is completely free to North Somerset residents, up to six sessions of one to one support can be provided. As well as support and guidance, nicotine replacement therapy for stop smokers, WW (weight watchers reimagined) referral and exercise sessions are also provided free of charge (eligibility does apply).

It’s never too late to make a change and our Health Trainers can help you make changes that will stick – no fad diets, instead thinking about your health and the impact of the changes you make.

Hundreds of local residents are supported by the service each year to achieve their personal goals to lose weight, eat well, get active and become smoke free. If you would like to find out more or to book a telephone or video call appointment to get started please call 01934 427 661, email health.trainers@n-somerset.gov.uk or contact the team through the health trainers webpage.