Today marks the first day of winter.
While we know how important it is for out heart (and general health) to be active, this often becomes harder in winter as the days become shorter and the temperature cooler. There are many advantages to remaining active year-round so we’ve come up with a few ideas that might help you keep as fit and healthy as possible during the winter season.
Try to exercise straight after work
You may leave work and head home to get changed for exercise with the best of intentions, but in winter it can be harder to leave your warm house and go back out into the cold again. Try organising yourself so that you head straight to exercise from work. Taking your change of clothes and a snack with you to work means you can avoid needing to head home in between.
Many people find the morning and evening too cold and dark to exercise in winter. If it is possible then consider exercising in your lunch break. Even if this only involves rugging up and taking a decent walk you will be happy with this decision when you finish your day and you have already ticked exercise off your to-do list.
Exercise in the warmth of your own home
Think exercise bikes, stair climbers and rowing machines. You can even exercise in front of your favourite TV shows. These days home exercise equipment is becoming increasingly affordable and compact. Or go online to purchase it second hand. The internet is full of people selling exercise equipment they rarely use. Just don’t become one of them!
The advantage of exercising indoors is that you don’t need to worry about the weather. No matter how cold, rainy or windy it is it is you can work out in comfort. Apart from the obvious option of the gym, there are many other indoor activities such as exercise classes, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, dancing, boxing, Zumba, pole dancing, rock climbing… the list goes on. Indoor team sports include basketball, netball, volleyball, squash, indoor soccer and indoor cricket.
Embrace winter and head to the snow
While winter might not be a great time to holiday at the beach, it is perfect for the snow. Skiing and snow-boarding are great exercise. For example, moderate downhill skiing burns an average of 400 calories an hour, while uphill cross-country skiing can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour. If you have small children or are on a budget (and are lucky enough to live near the ski fields) you could consider a day trip to the snow. Tobogganing is a cheap and fun day out for the family that will get you all moving.
Exercise with a friend
The colder weather means we often need more motivation to get going. Try organising an exercise session with a friend. You’ll find this fun and the company will give you an extra reason not to cancel your plans.
Swimming & water aerobics
While this may seem like a summer activity, there are an increasing number of heated indoor pools which can make swimming a great year-round activity.
Invest in suitable clothing
If possible you could think about investing in some winter exercise clothing. Specifically designed for exercising in the cold, this clothing will keep you warm when you first start which will make it easier to leave the warmth of the indoors. It will also allow your body to breathe and sweat comfortably as you warm up.
So why not look at winter as an opportunity to mix things up a bit and try a new activity? The mental and emotional benefits of exercise are huge, not to mention having a massive head start on everyone else for your ‘summer body’. If you keep up the hard work during winter, come summer you’ll be ready to go.