Posted on December 23, 2021 by Harry Edwards

Over winter we all get little sniffles, colds and illnesses that make the already chilly weather and dark evenings that much more miserable! As much as calling in sick, wrapping yourself in blankets and whacking Netflix on sounds like a dreamboat, if you’ve already gotten yourself ill, even this winter pastime can be ruined. So today we’re going to look at a few things you can do to avoid these pesky winter illnesses which also double up as good health tips in general!

Keep Active!

When it starts getting cold and the days begin getting darker, its perfectly natural for your motivation to wane a little bit. Getting up when our alarm goes off, getting into sports kit and rushing out into the wintery environment is not the most appealing idea. However, regular physical exercise will unequivocally be of benefit to you. By keeping your body fit and strong you will be much better equipped to deal with any physical challenges. Additionally, because you didn’t step off the pedal and suddenly convert to a sedentary, snuggly lifestyle, your immune system will be much more engaged and ready to combat those nasty bugs and viruses that are often about. This said, there are many environmental factors that are simply out of your control. Nonetheless, if you exercise in conjunction with these following tips, we can guarantee you’ll be much fitter and healthier throughout winter. Here’s a little winter circuit training session for you!

Eat Healthy!

British winter is not exactly kind to your average human immune system. Exercise will definitely help, but without the correct fuel and the proper nutrients, your body will be unable to properly maintain your health and protect you from those aforementioned lurgies. Vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, beans and legumes, contain lots of essential micronutrients that support your immune function and act as a stable source of energy for your body. Herbs and spices are also a good addition to your meals to support you through the winter. Spices can be good for clearing congestion in your sinuses and providing a bit of warmth in your meals, while other herbs and spices can provide direct health benefits. Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory effects, turmeric supports digestion and cinnamon has strong anti-oxidant qualities and improves insulin sensitivity, just to name a few! Overall, a healthier diet will greatly improve your odds of avoiding sickness over the winter period. But don’t worry, no one will judge a hot chocolate or glass of mulled wine here and there!

Vitamins and Minerals!

One of the main issues that leads to sickness over winter is a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals. The most important of these are vitamin D and C. As daylight hours become shorter, exposure to sunlight becomes scarce, causing many people to become deficient in Vitamin D which is vital for proper immune function and calcium absorption for protecting your bones. Vitamin C is responsible for tissue growth and repair and for collagen production, and can become more scarce as seasonal fruit and vegetables change and winter diets become less healthy. Ensuring the proper consumption of these two vitamins, either through eating more foods like citrus fruits, spinach and oily fish or through supplementation, will radically improve your immune function during winter. Essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and sodium are also important to keep in high supply within your body. However getting the proper amounts for these can normally be achieved through a standard healthy, varied diet.


One of the most overlooked aspects of health and fitness is sleep. Particularly over the winter season, when your body is already vulnerable and the excuses for parties, gatherings and going out are abundant, it is especially important to get enough sleep. The average person needs at least 7 hours of sleep a day, however most people get at least an hour less than this amount, negatively impacting on almost every function performed by the body. Getting the correct amount of sleep provides benefits to immune function, bodily repair, appetite, heart health and productivity to name a few. So one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from winter sickness and lethargy is to ensure you’re getting your Zzz’s!


Possibly the most important bit of advice in this blog, make sure to look after your mental health over winter. It is common for people to become more susceptible to mental health issues over the winter period. Lack of exposure to sunlight disrupts the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep and energy regulation, causing feelings of lethargy and lacking enthusiasm. Additionally, stresses from work, Christmas and even just the ending of another year can all contribute to higher levels of stress during winter. So, while we would certainly encourage you to engage with all the advice listed above, most importantly, cut yourself a bit of slack over winter. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little bit demotivated, to have an extra dessert here and there or to lack the energy to go on that workout you said you were going to do. Allow yourself to feel how your feeling, own it and then move forward with the knowledge that you’re not defined by one bad day. If you want to get back and attack the season to be the fittest member of your family by new year, more power to you! Equally, if you want to relax with friends and family, ease off with some good food and board games, that’s just as valuable.

No matter what route you take, look after yourself through winter and don’t forget to enjoy the season of good cheer!