Many people think that exercising in cold weather is the last thing they would want to do but it’s actually one of the best things to do to warm up. Workouts release heat and induce sweat so the blood flow to the skin increases and makes you feel warmer. Plus, this is a good way to lose some of the winter weight you’ll be putting on from all that extra eating you’ll be doing! Yes, increased appetite is one of the effects that cold weather has on the body. Your body needs more fuel to burn up in order to keep you warm. But your body has a higher natural metabolic rate in cold weather so if you do start working out, you’ll drop pounds in no time.
Indulge in hot beverages
Winter’s the perfect season to have as many hot drinks as you want! Go ahead and indulge in your favourite one, be it coffee, tea, chocolate or perhaps something more unique like hot toddy or warm cider. Not only do hot drinks warm you up from the inside out the second you drink them, the caffeine helps to increase blood flow which helps to further warm you up. Besides, doesn’t holding a warm cup between your hands feel wonderful when you’re out in the cold? It’s like your personal little heater. To save money and also be more environmentally conscious, get a thermo flask or a keepcup so you can make and bring your own hot beverage from home.
Have regular and proper meals
Remember what we said about increased appetite and your body needing extra fuel? Well it’s important that you give your body good fuel so that the energy released from it will last and sustain you for longer periods of time. Hearty meals such as stew and soups are great for this and also warm you upon consumption. Also, increase your protein intake to keep your energy levels up. When it comes to snacking, go nuts! And we mean this quite literally, as in, eat nuts. Fat is essential in helping the body stay warm and as nuts contain high levels of healthy fat, they’re the perfect snack choice. When cooking, add spices such as cinnamon and paprika. Not only do they make your food taste better, they also boost metabolism and generate heat. Ginger is another great ingredient to make use of during winter as it releases heat, improves blood circulation and improves the functions of your immune and digestive systems. Its versatility means you can add it to practically anything including salads and soups, as a marinade for proteins like chicken and fish, and even to desserts and drinks. We will be sharing some recipes soon so keep an eye out!
Your heater is your best friend
If you have ducted heating or a central heating system in your place of residence then lucky you! It’s wonderful coming home to a lovely warm and toasty room isn’t it? For those of you who aren’t so lucky, you can invest in a decent portable heater to keep you warm indoors. Make sure to choose the type of heater wisely as some may consume more energy than the others (Read: Electricity bills will increase drastically during winter!). Nevertheless, don’t let this deter you from using a heater. Just make sure to use it considerately and moderately.
Take care of your skin
Having lived and grown up in Malaysia, our skin is more used to hot and humid weather and so may not respond well to the cold and dry weather of winter. Your skin may become very dry & itchy. Consider getting a good range of skin products to protect your skin especially for those who have sensitive skin. Lip balm is especially essential. Do not let chapped lips ruin your winter experience. Prevention is always better than cure!
Invest in a good winter wardrobe
We cannot stress enough how important it is to dress appropriately for the cold weather! The following clothing items should definitely be added to your wardrobe: coats, jackets, windbreakers boots for dry days, boots for wet days, gloves, scarves, beanies, thermal wear, sweaters, and hoodies. And make sure you get the good quality ones. They may cost more but they work better in keeping you warm. Plus, you get to try out a different type of fashion. Winter clothes can be very trendy and fashionable so don’t worry about looking frumpy or boring. Layering is another good dressing technique in winter. Do keep in mind that different people have different levels of tolerance to cold weather so experiment with your dressing until you find what suits you best.
Keep your spirits up
The lack of sun, low temperatures, freezing wind and overall bad weather can result in you feeling depressed or at least less enthusiastic than usual. In extreme cases, it can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). In order to prevent this, try to do things that you enjoy or make you happy. Make a date with your significant other, plan an outing with a group of friends, indulge in your favourite food/drink/activity, read a good book, the options are endless!
Winter is actually a really fun season so go out and enjoy it! You’re not going to be able to once you’re back in Malaysia so why not experience what winter has to offer while you still have the chance? One of the most popular things to do is getting a bunch of friends together and going on a trip to a ski resort where you’ll be able to try all kinds of fun winter activities like skiing and snowboarding. Imagine having a blast with friends on the slopes all day then coming back to a gorgeous resort cabin and curling up in front of the fireplace with a steaming hot drink and a shared plate of snacks where you continue to talk and laugh the night away. You’ll definitely regret not experiencing it if you don’t! To make things easier for you, most Malaysian Student Organizations (MSOs) tend to plan such trips so go check out your respective university’s Malaysian clubs to see what they have in store for you. Of course, you’re free to come up with your own way to enjoy yourself so go ahead and get up to whatever winter shenanigans you can think of! Do you wanna build a snowmaaaaan?
With all these tips at your disposal we hope you’re now ready to say ‘BRING IT ON!’ to winter :D
MASCA Victoria Welfare Department 2013/2014