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5 TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY AND HAPPY THIS WINTER

We are right in the middle of winter here in New Zealand and sometimes it is not for the faint hearted! Especially if you are a student, and is having to deal with early morning classes and late nights. If the gloomy weather of winter has got you in a gloomy mood, here are some tips on how to stay active, healthy and motivated and also have fun!

Health is Wealth
Everyone hates being at home with a headache, blocked nose and a cough. For those of you that want to outsmart those pesky viruses and bacteria I have some helpful hints.

#1. Wash your hands regularly

Increasing the amount of times you wash your hands during winter will help reduce the chances of you getting sick. Most bacteria and viruses are spread through hand contact and surfaces and when you are at lectures and classrooms all day, your exposure is high. So just remind yourself to quickly pop to the toilet or sink and just quickly wash your hands with soap.

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#2. Get enough sleep

We all know we are suppose to eight hours sleep a night but a lot of people are night owls with early starts. Being sleep deprived is not something you can get away with. Not getting enough sleep lowers your immune system meaning that you are more likely to get a cold or the flu. So go to bed earlyish! This will also improve your efficiency at school and work because you will be alert and energetic.

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#3. Stay Hydrated and eat well!

Remember your parents saying ‘eat your vegetables or you won’t get desert’? Unfortunately, when we become adults we can have our desert and never eat our vegetables – this is not good! A lot of adults don’t eat the right amount of fruit, vegetables, protein and grains. It may seem like common sense but common sense doesn’t seem common enough nowadays!  Eating food rich in antioxidants such as fruit and vegetables will strengthen you immune system preventing you from getting a flu or cold. Research suggests that another reason we get sick in winter is because we get less Vitamin D which, you guessed it , strengthens our immune system. Some foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, eggs and tuna. Winter is also soup season, so top up and restore on some hearty healthy and heart warming soup!

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#4. Stay away from your sick friends

It may seem a little harsh to stay away from sick family members and friends but it will greatly decrease your chances of getting sick. Proximity is the biggest danger when it comes to illness. If you yourself are sick then don’t go to work. Your boss won’t thank you from making everyone else sick and therefore decreasing productivity.

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#5. Stay active

No one likes to be continuously reminded to go to the gym! Especially if you are not that much of a “gym person”. So I will keep this short and sweet – do regular exercise! It is so important generally, and more so during winter when your body is prone to attacks from virus and bacteria. Simply home workouts for 10-30 minutes is all you really need! Here is a great website to help you get started – Ace Fitness. And remember – Strong body = strong mind = happy you!

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Now that you are equipped with good tips to stay active and healthy, here are some ideas to have fun – NZ wide!

Indoor Skiing
Don’t want to travel to the ski fields? It’s raining? Need to practice some of your skiing moves before you head to Mr Ruapehu? Then visit Snow Planet, just north of Auckland city, details at www.snowplanet.co.nz.

Stretch your legs!
If you are an all year round outdoor person and you love tramping, you’d love this – The Kauaeranga Kauri Trail! To walk from the Kauaeranga roadend car park to the Pinnacles is about four hours one way, but you can opt to stay overnight at the Pinnacles Hut (these must be booked in advance).  Find out more at www.doc.govt.nz.

Luge at Rotorua
Skyline Rotorua Luge is a unique way to experience Rotorua! You hop on a non-motorised Luge cart and zip downhill at speed, and you can choose 1 of 4 tracks. Fun, fast and safe for all ages. Open all year round and still bustling during winter – Skyline Rotorua Luge, check them out!

Swim in Gisborne Olympic Pools
It may be cold and raining outside but you can still keep training in these heated Olympic Pools – ok so maybe not training but definitely enjoying! Details at www.gdc.govt.nz/olympic-pool.

Winter Fishing in Taupo
Love fly fishing? Don’t know what that is but want to find out? Taupo is one of the top places in the North Island for fly fishing (trout fishing), and winter is the season for it!  To protect the fish while they are spawning the upper parts of the rivers are closed from now till the the 30th of November, for more details visit: http://www.doc.govt.nz.

Oldest Prison in New Zealand
Not for the faint hearted! If the gloomy weather of winter has put you in the mood for something different, visit the Napier Prison. There are guided tours daily at 9:30am and 3pm.  In winter self-guided audio tours are available from 9am to 5pm.  Visit www.napierprison.com for details.

For Lord of the Rings Fans!
Put on a warm windproof and waterproof jacket along with sturdy hiking shoes to see the Putangirua Pinnacles – from the scene, where Aragon, Grimli and Legolas are walking to meet the Army of the Dead, from The Return of the King. There are three routes to get to the Putangirua Pinnacles, one of which is not recommended if there is strong winds or after heavy rains, visit www.doc.govt.nz for details and fun filming trivia.

Te Papa
Indoor activities are always fun during winter. If you are in Wellington, visit Te Papa the National Museum of New Zealand. There is always an exhibition on and you will always leave being more educated in the history of Aotearoa. You can spend hours at Te Papa and what’s more – general entry is FREE. You may be charged for certain special exhibitions, but they will also be well worth it. Visit www.tepapa.govt.nz for details.

We hope this has been a good read for you winter lovers!

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