Let’s face it, the winter months can be long, cold and dark. And that’s just the weather! Often when there is less sunshine and less warmth, it’s tempting to stay hidden indoors with chunky jumpers and bowls of comfort food. But that’s the worse thing you can do! Studies have proven that getting out and staying active can counteract feelings of lethargy and low moods in winter. And if you need a little push to keep you going, here are some reasons why you need to keep up your fitness regime this winter!
Exercise is good for you
You didn’t need us to tell you that! But if you have indulged in a few foods that are usually too heavy for you, what better way to burn them off? Exercise helps to boost feel good endorphins which are sometimes lacking as the winter months drag on. So along with the obvious physical benefits of regular exercise, it can help to lift your mood too. And as these things are often cyclical, a better frame of mind will mean better motivation, more inclination to eat better and less chance of you spending all winter down in the dumps. Worth a try, right?
Don’t let the cold weather put you off
Many people feel the cold weather that winter brings means that they need to modify or eliminate their current fitness regime, particularly if they usually exercise outside. But that’s just not true! Exercising outside during the winter months can be really good for you! Here’s why:
- The cold weather actually helps you to burn more calories. Seriously. You work harder when it’s cold and in return your body burns more calories as it works to keep your temperature up.
- The cold helps to improve your overall fitness because you are challenging yourself in the cold- and therefore strengthening your heart, lungs and circulation.
- The cold weather energises you. Hot weather can make you feel sluggish and slow, but exercising in the winter can actually help to boost your performance.
Take it indoors
If it really is too cold for you, then why not move your fitness regime indoors instead? There’s no reason why you can’t swap your power walks for a class or a session in the gym instead. Swimming is also a great way to keep up overall body fitness without feeling the chill. If you usually exercise outdoors and just cannot bear the thought of doing it in the winter, then don’t give up completely. Modify your activity, take it indoors and keep it going!
Try exercise more suited to cold weather
If you’re up for modifying your usual programme, go for something completely different while it’s cold. If mountain hikes are impossible in winter, then go for a power walk along a different route, or try running instead. Cardio work outs like running help to raise your body temperature and make working out in the cold a lot more bearable. You might want to save the rowing and outdoor swimming for warmer months!
Change your timing
If you usually go for a run early in the morning, or later at night but hate working out in the dark, try swapping your timings around. See if you can fit a run in later in the morning, or after lunch instead. It might make all the difference for your waning enthusiasm.
Tips for outdoor winter exercise
If you do decide to go for it and to hell with the weather, make sure you do it safely! Hydrate well before, during and after your work out- just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can skip the water. Also make sure you adapt your clothing and wear layers that you can remove easily as your temperature rises. Gloves and good quality socks are essential and apply a good moisturiser to your face and lips to avoid chapping.
A winter work out can be a huge boost to your body and mind- so what are you waiting for?