Winters are one of the most splendid times of the year. Delicious baked goods, coupled with a cup of hot chocolate, are an absolute treat. The winter season brings us closer to family and friends over festive celebrations. Nevertheless, winters are harsh and can take a toll on one's health. While being in a festive mood, it is essential not to forget to keep yourself warm and watch out for potential infections.
The holiday season sees an exchange of many gifts. To enjoy the holiday spirit thoroughly, you must stay healthy. Turmeric is a magic ingredient that can be used almost in every dish and helps you to remain healthy. It works as an antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral that works as an immunity booster.
Here are some exclusive benefits of adding turmeric to your winter diet:
Physical Ailments: Turmeric is a natural substance found on the earth. Its healing properties include relief from common winter sinus, painful joints, indigestion, and cold and cough. For instant relief, you can add a pinch of turmeric to drinks like milk and tea. Daily consumption of turmeric can also help control blood sugar levels.
Winters: The holiday season is a joyous time, and we tend to indulge in alcohol and other unhealthy food items. What we call "holiday weight" can be unidentified health issues by the end of the season. A hint of turmeric can go a long way towards improving liver function. Turmeric is an antioxidant that benefits the body from the inside out.
To survive the harsh winters, one must consume foods rich in fats and proteins. We also consume hot beverages that may be soothing but upset the digestive system. Turmeric adds flavour to food and aids digestion. Consuming food with turmeric also gives a healthy glow to your skin, as the body gets rid of toxins.
Ancient Medicine: Turmeric has been a part of Asian food items and Ayurveda for many centuries. The healing properties of turmeric, which are especially significant during the winter, are magical. The main benefit is that it is a natural antioxidant. It helps you cleanse your body of harmful substances.
Flu Season: The beginning of winter marks the onset of the flu season. In most Asian households, turmeric milk is a natural medicine. Many pregnant women also seek comfort in turmeric milk in the mild flu. Turmeric helps eliminate bacterial infection and provides relief to sore throats.
Turmeric is a household favourite throughout the year. It is not only a good condiment, but also a healer. Spicing things up with turmeric is wise since artificial flavours and chemicals are part of our food groups. The healing properties of turmeric were studied for its blood-thinning properties, reducing the risk of cancer and treating Alzheimer's. (Health tips by Yashna Garg, Nutraceutical Expert, ZeoNutra)
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It is very common during the winter and monsoon seasons for us to be more susceptible to various infections. According to Ayurveda, a year is divided into 2 kaalas i.e., Uttaryana and Dakshinayana. Each kaala consists of 3 seasons, and so 6 seasons per year with each season persisting for about 2 months.
Uttaryana Kaala (14 January to 14 July)
Shishir Ritu (Winter) Mid- January to Mid- March
Vasant Ritu (Spring) Mid- March to Mid-May
Grishma Ritu (Summer) Mid- May to Mid- July
Dakshinayana Kaala (14 July to 14 January)
Varsha Ritu (Monsoon) Mid- July to Mid- September
Sharad Ritu (Autumn/ Fall) Mid- September to Mid- November
Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) Mid- November to Mid- January
Out of these 6 seasons, Shishir Ritu (winter) extending from Mid-January to Mid-March is a period that remains cold and windy.
Ritusandhi: 'Ritu' means season and 'Sandhi' means junction. It Is a junctional period consisting of the last 7 days of the previous season and the first 7 days of the next season. During this period, our body is prone to infections.
The common ailments which occur during the winter season are:
Common Cold: A common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused mainly by viruses. It mainly affects children, old aged people and other immune-compromised individuals. The symptoms include throat irritation, cough with or without phlegm, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, headache and a low-grade fever.
Stomach Flu: Stomach flu can spread rapidly during the winter season and is caused by the Norovirus. In this condition, there is an ongoing inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach. It can be easily transmitted through food and drinks and through feco-oral contamination. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps. The person may also feel chills, headaches, fatigue and muscle aches.
Extreme Dry Skin: Dry skin also known as winter skin, is usually worsened during the winter season when the environmental humidity is very low. This is because of the cold and dry air which evaporates the water content of the skin very quickly, making it dry and tight. Skin can be prone to inflammations during this period.
Asthma: Asthma is a condition in which the airway becomes narrow and inflamed, leading to difficulty in breathing, cough and wheezing. For some Individuals, these symptoms may flare up during the winter season. The cold dry air can irritate the airways, producing more mucus and increasing the symptoms. Also, the cold environment can worsen airway constriction.
Flu: Flu is commonly mistaken for a common cold but both are different. It is a common viral infection that can be even life-threatening in highly vulnerable groups. It affects the lungs, throat and nose. Flu commonly affects younger and older populations and also people who have reduced immunity or other underlying chronic conditions. Symptoms include high fever, chills, sore throat, nausea, swollen lymph nodes and headache.
Wellness Tips for Winter Ailments
Practice Good Personal Hygiene: Practising good personal hygiene is one of the most important ways to protect yourself from getting infectious diseases such as stomach flu, common cold and flu. It also helps to prevent the spread of infection from yourself to the next person.
Yogic Kriyas: Practising yogic kriyas such as Jala neti will help to remove the excess mucous from the upper respiratory tract and help in the proper airflow without any obstruction. Thus it also helps in asthmatic conditions and alleviates congestion, allergies and cold. It should be practised under the guidance of a proper Yoga trainer. Care should be taken to blow the nostril properly after the practice to avoid headaches.
Basil: Basil has good antiseptic and antiviral properties and is recommended for viral infections like the common cold and flu. It also helps to liquefy the phlegm and is effective for cough and Asthma. It can be added as a topping to soups and sauces
Turmeric: Turmeric has a great antiviral property and acts effectively against the influenza virus. It is also rich in antioxidants and has an anti-inflammatory property.
Vitamin C Rich Foods: Taking Vitamin C rich food is essential for the repair of the tissues. It helps to improve the production of white blood cells and fights against infection. Vitamin C rich foods include Amla, strawberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, pepper, citrus fruits like lemon, orange.
Probiotics: Probiotics reduces the possibility of getting upper respiratory tract infections. They help to keep the immune system healthy. It includes buttermilk, fermented rice water, pickled vegetables, kefir etc.
Stay Hydrated: Having a sufficient amount of warm water will help to maintain the moisture content of the skin.
Hot Soups: Soups are a great diet to be added to our winter menu. This can be further enhanced by using various herbs and spices which are good for winters such as rosemary, oregano, ginger, garlic, pepper, cumin etc.
Exercise: Moderate exercise is extremely important to keep our metabolism high. We can get into cardio or yoga practices that help to elevate the body heat and to improve heart functions so that the circulation can be improved to different parts of the body. (Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director, Atmantan Wellness Centre)
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Different seasons of the year bring with them unique benefits for the mind, body and for our moods. It may be easier to wake up in the mornings during summer versus waking up in the winter which is much harder to do. When it comes to exercising, motivating yourself during cold days to get out of your cosy and comfortable bed will be a task in itself. However, for those who are aspiring to lose weight and get fitter here is some motivation for you to keep going with your exercise during the winter season.
Exercising during the winter can actually burn more calories than when you exercise in summer. Your endurance can also be increased during winter because the heart needs to work less you also sweat less making your workout more efficient.
Himalayan Siddha Grand Master Akshar shares 6 ways that you can exercise and keep up with your fitness game even during cold winter days.
Walking/ Running/ Jogging
Start your exercise routine with a brisk walk or maybe you could take a jog or run around your neighbourhood block. These are cardiovascular activities that pump up your heart rate and get you ready both mentally and physically for your upcoming workout session.
After your jog or run make sure that you spend a few minutes on stretching. Experts recommend that you stretch before and after your workout as this readies your muscles keep them safe from injury and also effectively improves your chance of getting leaner and more toned.
In yoga, Surya Namaskar also known as the sun salutation is considered to be a complete body workout. The Surya Namaskar is comprised of eight different postures that are sequenced in a 12 step flow. It starts from the right side and needs to be completed on both sides for a complete cycle. If you are a beginner you can start with 3-5 cycles and gradually increase it to 11, 21 and so on. Practising this sequence early in the morning will boost vitamin D in your body d and bring many physical as well as mental health benefits.
Pranayama is a breathing exercise that can be performed to gain many health benefits for both mind and body. During winter techniques such as Kapalbhati Pranayama and Khand Pranayama are suggested for you.
There are many meditation techniques that you can practice regularly such as Sthiti Dhyan, Swaas Dhyan, Aarambh Dhyan etc. Here is a simple and powerful meditation technique to build positivity.
Prarthana Dhyan (Prayerful Meditation)
Sit down in any comfortable posture
Join your palms in front of your chest to form Pranam Mudra
Straighten your back and close your eyes
Frame and repeat positive affirmations aloud or silently
End your workout session with complete mind-body relaxation in the form of Anandasana. Relaxing the body is as important as exercising as this gives your body the chance to rest, recover and recoup.
Formation of the Posture
Lie down in a prone position on a comfortable surface or on your yoga mat.
Close your eyes.
Let your legs relax completely and place them at a distance that is comfortably apart.
Let your ankles drop, and keep your toes are facing sideward.
Place your arms alongside your body and slightly apart. Make sure your palms are lying open to the sky and facing upwards.
Starting from your toes, bring your attention to every area of your body. Use deep breaths to lull your body into a deep state of relaxation.
Maintain awareness so you do not fall asleep in the process.
To recover from the posture, gently roll to one side (right) with your eyes closed. Slowly push the floor to come 9. up and sit in Sukhasana.
Anandasana can be done after you complete your physical practice, and when you are tired, it helps to completely relax your body. This pose requires you to concentrate, and focus on your breath. When you are in this posture, try to take deeper and faster breaths.(By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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Lifestyle plays a huge role in your fitness and health. Often a sedentary lifestyle along with unhealthy eating habits contribute to weight gain or other lifestyle diseases. With discipline and patience, you can work on your lifestyle to reach a fitness level you have always desired. Always remember that whatever changes you implement should not be focused on temporary results, but rather on a long and sustainable lifestyle.
A good fitness level is more important than just fat loss. However, you can lose fat by practising these things:
1. Make Your Diet A Lifestyle:
Most people tend to focus on diet as a destination, rather than a journey. Your nutrition should not be a trend or a plan for short-term results, but rather a lifestyle that you can follow effortlessly. Although easier said than done, implementing a positive lifestyle can have tremendous long-term results. Tweaking your food habits and incorporating essential macro and micronutrients can aid your fat-loss journey. A good way to include the right food components in your diet is through a good diet plan which you must follow with discipline. Eat good food every day. It's as simple as that. Don't divert even if you have to eat the same food every day, you can always innovate your dishes with the help of spices and other preparation methods.
2. Workout Regime To Increase Activity:
Even if you can't do a heavy workout every day, it is essential to include some kind of activity in your lifestyle. Find a physical activity that suits you. Some people despise gyms, but love jogging or playing a sport. Some like strength training and lifting weights. Whatever you choose, follow through without any excuses. Your daily physical activity plays a huge role in your metabolism and fitness level. It's not just about burning calories; it's about setting a pattern for your body to undergo positive stress. When you exercise, your body is already doing half the work required for losing weight and becoming fit.
3. Don't Compromise on Your Sleep and Hydration:
People underrate the importance of a good night's sleep. Your body requires sleep to recover, to balance the cortisol hormone level which is responsible for your binge eating. Sleeping is our body's natural way of balancing the stress level and rectifying any errors in its system. Fix a sleeping time and don't change it no matter what. This is one of the most important changes you must incorporate. The other being hydration water is extremely important for your system. Not only does it help in passing the nutrients throughout your system, but it also helps the body detox and shed the pesky water retention habit. You'll be surprised by the number of times your body confuses thirst for hunger, so always drink adequate water. Set a reminder through a phone app, it can be helpful.
(The author Pranit Shilimkar is a Health and Fitness Entrepreneur, Digital Content Creator and Founder of Fitnesstalks)
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Yoga can help you manage stress, and the best part is it does not take a lot of time. You don't have to spend hours on the mat or invest years in learning complicated postures. Instead, by simply taking out a few minutes every day, you can reduce your stress levels and improve your quality of life. A key component of yoga is that it empowers you to manifest these changes in your breath.
By changing the speed, pace, and quality of your breath, you can calm down your nervous system, thereby moving your body from a state of stress to one of relaxation. Namita Piparaiya, Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist, Founder -- Yoganama, shares three simple techniques that can help you:
1. Start with the Palming Technique
Palming is very useful for eye fatigue and stress from looking at a screen for long hours. Rub your palms together to find some heat, and then gently cup your eyes, creating a hollow dark space around them. Relax your forehead, eyes, and neck as you hold this for a few breaths.
You can follow this up with a gentle head massage, particularly focusing on the eyebrows, temples, and forehead. Then bring your hands in front of you as you open your eyes with a few gentle blinks looking directly at your palms. If you're doing this outdoors, you can also look far into the distance. Taking a few moments to look outside, preferably at some greenery or standing by the window and looking outside in natural light, is also very helpful.
2. Do Some Deep Breathing
When you are emotional, stressed, or physically tired, your breath becomes shallow and loses its rhythm. The good thing is that this is a two-way street. By consciously relaxing your breath and bringing it to an even pace or rhythm, you can reduce your stress levels. This is important because we spend a lot of our modern-day life in a stressed and hyper state, making it even more necessary to make time for activities that counter stress. Deep belly breathing or Diaphragmatic is just the technique you need as you can do it anytime you're on an empty stomach. Just remember not to become overly conscious of the breath and start forcing it to breathe deeply. By paying attention to the breath, you will naturally slow it down. Immerse yourself in the beautiful experience for 3 minutes, three times a day.
3. Practice Stillness
After some deep breathing, the mind naturally comes into a calmer state, and that's a great time to practice meditation. You can do this by choosing an object of meditation; it could be a deity, a symbol, an affirmation, a mantra, a chant, or even your breath. And try to spend at least 3 minutes observing the nature of your object, introspecting on its meaning, or simply trying to maintain your attention on it. For example, if you've chosen the breath as your object of meditation, try to take five slow breaths without getting distracted. If you do get distracted, which is very normal, start again at one and repeat till you've taken those five breaths with your attention intact.
In this way, you can integrate yoga into your everyday life. These techniques are simple, don't require any equipment, and can be done anywhere. But they are immensely powerful, and you will start to see the difference within a couple of weeks of practice.
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Yoga provides one with various physical, mental health and well-being benefits; it requires a tiny investment in equipment compared to other forms of exercise.
A yoga mat is one of the most versatile essentials you need to have, especially in these challenging times where the predictability of gyms opening or closing is incalculable. Practicing on a yoga mat allows one to properly perform different poses while remaining safe and free from unnecessary stresses such as slipping or experiencing pain from uncomfortable body support.
Whether you are a hardcore yogic or someone about to embark on your fitness journey, a Yoga Mat will help you elevate your performance and keeps pains and aches at bay.
Pallav Bihani, Founder Of Boldfit, shares some tips on how to select the best Yoga Mat for home workouts:
There are several yoga mats in the market with varying thicknesses. You need to factor in comfort, portability, and safety before you narrow down on few products. If you love the extra cushioning or are purchasing for senior citizens, opt for mats with 10-12 mm thickness. While if you are someone who loves to connect with the ground while you move from one asana to another, then a yoga mat with a standard thickness of 6mm is the ideal fit for you. Opting for anything below the 10-6 mm thickness range won't provide you with the benefits of stability, comfort, and cushioning that you are factoring in.
Size is one of the most important factors when looking out for a yoga mat. 6 feet by 2 feet is the standard size in the market, which is more than enough to perform all the asanas and exercises. If you are tall or big stature-wise, you should opt for a larger mat. Consider how much room and portability is also required before fixing the size of the yoga mat. Portability is a crucial aspect of purchasing a yoga mat; buying a large yoga mat that you can't carry around easily defeats the purpose. On the flip side, purchasing a small one will have your limbs touching the ground.
The texture of the yoga mat is quite essential for proper movements. The yoga mat's surface provides traction and prevents slipping; everyone has different preferences: some like their mats with manufactured texture, while some prefer a smooth cushioned mat.
This might be a surprising one, but people who perform Yoga regularly know the importance of stickiness in a mat. A sticky yoga mat will keep you from sliding all over the place and help you maintain your alignment as you move from one pose to another, as well as when you hold asanas. Make sure you purchase a mat that provides just the right amount of stickiness for you.
Last but not least, factor in the material when planning to purchase a yoga mat for your home workouts. Most budget yoga mats under Rs 600 are made of recycled plastic such as EVA or PVC, leaving a nasty odour and can cause skin allergies. Although these are yoga mats, they are not optimized for performance to perform an asana that may require your mat to hold your grip during the movement.
If performance is one of your concerning parameters, then TPE material is the perfect match for you. TPE yoga mats provide you the confidence and quality to perform your exercise while lasting for years without degrading in nature. This is the ideal investment you can make in your fitness.
If late, there are advancements and innovations around rubber as well as cork yoga mats, these are pricey, and they lack performance. Though they are a boon for the environment, these mats don't provide the bang of your buck.
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