In the first place, consider the seasons of the year and
What affects each of them produce
Winter in Chinese astrology and the five element theory (Wuxing) begins with the winter solstice on December 21st. It is associated with the water element. This is a time when nature retreats inward trees, plants, and many animals slow down their activities to await the coming of spring.
For humans, it is a time for emotional reflection but also one in which to remain mildly active enough to keep the body warm (if you live in a cold climate) and to keep the mind active through study, meditation and reflection.
Because it is related to water during the winter season it is good to balance physical activity with deep level rest, sleep and nourishing foods to keep warm and healthy both inside and out. Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) says that winter’s energy expressed as the water element is a deep (soft) yin concept. It is important to drink lots of fluids especially water during this season.
Fire and artificial heating tend to dry out the body both inside and out so it is important to keep well hydrated during this season for the health of the bladder and kidneys organs because they are associated in TCM with the water element. Your kidneys are nourished by a cold climate; however extreme cold, especially on wet days, can injure them. The low back is also susceptible to pain and discomfort on very cold and wet days so it is important to keep the body dry and warm especially in this area to avoid stiffness and pain.
As we move into winter it is a good idea to adjust the foods that we eat to reflect the season. Unless you live in the tropics avoid too many fruits but double up on the vegetables especially the root veggies that contain more energy than things like celery and lettuces. Vegetable soups with or without chicken stock or beef stock are good and warming and easy to digest. In short try not to stress the digestive system during this time and allow it to rest along with your mind, body and spirit.
Cold liquids should be avoided during the winter. In fact, most of the year as they inhibit digestion and cool the body from the inside. Grains should be eaten with beans to create a complete protein if you are a vegetarian. White and black beans are said to be good for the kidneys and provide just the right amount of fiber and carbohydrates to help warm the body.
During winter warming herbs are beneficial, these include Marshmallow Root (Althaea Officinalis). It can be used both internally and externally. You can also cook or make tea decoctions using Ginger root, Garlic, and Cayenne pepper.
During the winter months exercises like Chinese Yoga (Daoyin) or slow forms practice of Taijiquan or Baguazhang are recommended over hard, fast aerobic type training. To increase the heart rate increase the time doing these exercises or use slow progressive resistance movements with your weights or kettlebells. Avoid fast ballistic movements that excite the mind and body.