How to beat the winter blues

Short days, grey skies, freezing mornings. Winter really can be a drag. Here’s how to stay fit, healthy and happy over the next four months

Winter is by far the trickiest season to navigate – and you won’t get many people arguing otherwise. A recent UK poll confirmed that on average the winter months result in an increase in illnesses, a lower mood and an overall lack of motivation. Apparently 46 per cent of Britons think winter is bad for their health and their appearance, while 22 per cent believe they’re more likely to gain weight. To make things even worse, 47 per cent of those polled felt less motivated to exercise in the winter, with the weekly average time spent in the gym dropping by 30 per cent. All in all, these cold, dark winter months aren’t good for our physical and mental wellbeing.

Depressing that might be, but there are ways of pushing through these dark few months successfully. It’s 17 weeks until the clocks go forward again on 31 March – and that’s a long time to spend wallowing in the winter blues. We spoke to personal trainer at Soho Fitness Labs, Georgia Donati Clarke, for some expert tips on how to stay fit and healthy while its dark and grey outside.

Beat the winter blues

1. Start as you mean to go on

‘One of our main mantras at Soho Fitness Labs is consistency, consistency, consistency. Whether it’s exercise or nutrition, doing it once is not going to work miracles. Rather, what you need are healthy habits, repeated regularly and continuously over a long period of time, which will change not only the way you look, but the way you feel, move and think of yourself. You’ll become the best version of yourself – even in the cold, dark winter months.’

2. Three is all you need

‘For optimum health and wellbeing, we recommend a minimum of three gym sessions a week. Try to mix it up with cardio and resistance training for the best results. You may be eating slightly more over the winter period, too, so burning those extra calories is a must if you want to feel fitter by the end of it. You’ll feel a lot better mentally as well.’

Beat Winter Blues

3. Stick to the 80:20 rule

‘Eating out with friends and family plays an important role in getting through those difficult winter months. But if you want to keep fit and healthy, try to stick to the 80:20 rule: 80 per cent fresh, home-prepared meals versus 20 per cent eating out. This means doing your meal prep ahead of time – we recommend something like steamed sweet potatoes, green beans and grilled chicken for lunch. Delicious, healthy and satisfying.’

4. Mix it up

‘There really couldn’t be a better time to get into working out, so make the most of it this winter season – you’ll feel all the better for it. There’s hundreds of different classes out there, from personal training studios, pilates, yoga, boxing, HIIT, and so much more. Give a few different ones a try, find what you enjoy and factor it into your life over the coming winter months.’

5. Put down that glass

‘As much as it can seem like a good idea on a dark and chilly evening, alcohol will actually have a huge effect on your fitness, resilience and general mood over the winter period. Choose one or two nights a week to drink, but keep the rest alcohol free. You’ll be thankful for it once 31 March rolls round.’

Images courtesy of Soho Fitness Labs