Warm Up With Exercise This Winter

By Rebecca Hindley

It’s the end of October and, to coin a popular phrase, Winter is Coming!

The days are getting shorter, there’s a definite chill in the air and the motivation to get moving is gently melting away like a snowman on a beach.

The problem is that exercise is perfect to help combat the winter blues. It releases feel good hormones and earns you extra calories.

Your body’s defenses will benefit too. Research has shown that moderate exercise can strengthen your immune system, reducing the risk of coughs and cold by improving lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation.

So, let’s do this!

Getting outside

  • Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion! Wear warm clothing including hats, gloves and layer appropriately.  Layering is useful because you can remove layers as you get warmer. This will keep you comfortable and your muscles warm too so you will be able to withstand a longer stint in the cold air.
  • If you're going for a brisk walk, stroll, jog, whatever your intensity: Warm up! Always warm-up before you begin. Stretch your arms and legs, walk at a brisk pace, or jog to warm your muscles.
  • Motivation in numbers- Get a few friends together or join a jogging club and get outdoors in good company! You will spur one another along. You can catch up socially and stay active at same time. You won’t even notice the cold!
  • Stay hydrated. Remember to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated.  It’s easy to drink less in the winter because it’s cold, but your body still needs water to function properly. Remember you will need an additional 500ml per 30 minutes of exercise in addition to your recommended daily intake of water. 
  • There is an array of different exercise activities you can do outdoors in winter, the cold can be very exhilarating once you’ve made that leap.
  • As well as jogging and walking, you could always try a nice leisurely bike ride, you could incorporate it into your daily errands or take a scenic journey. Just make sure you stay safe and wear hi-vis if the visibility is low or it’s dark and pay attention to the conditions of the ground. 
  • Stick on your headphones and play your favourite playlist, you will be exercising to the music and won’t notice the weather conditions. 
  • If there is a coating of snow you could always try having some fun. Have a snowball fight, build a snowman or even do some sledging. It all counts and will keep those feel good hormones coming!
  • A jog, walk or cycle in the rain, whatever you choose can be invigorating, fun and also free! Some may also say it is refreshing to have that cold rain and snow showering over you!

Inside. If exercising in the cold is really too much to bear!

  • Complete your workout in the comfort of your own home. You can combine stretching, toning and cardio exercises without going outside. Maybe these cold days are a reason to dig out those exercise DVD’s?
  • You could give your house a really good clean ready for the winter! Great for cardio, toning and calorie burn and you get a tidy house as another benefit! All ready for those seasonal events.
  • Go to a class. There are plenty of classes running everywhere for lots of different activities. Your gym, community centre or village hall are all places which might have an interesting class you can join in on. Taking a dance class will burn calories, increase core strength, posture and coordination. Participating in martial arts improves strength, muscle tone and confidence. There is something for everybody, no matter what you want to gain from it. 
  • You could join a gym (if you haven’t already). When you join, a fitness instructor will create a bespoke program for you to work to each time you go. It will get you into structured activity where you can work towards the goals you set up. 
  • Take up a sport or join a club. Like going to the gym it will give you a structured approach that will ensure results and give a sense of achievement. 
  • Or you could have some court time! Play some badminton or squash with a friend to get your heart racing and burn some calories. You never know, it might be so much fun that you have found something to do all year round! 
  • Swimming is a great way to exercise as it works your whole body, burns calories, strengthens your posture and improves your heart and lung function. Whether you decide on lengths or a class you will come out feeling rejuvenated and motivated ready for more of the same another day.

Just because the weather is cold and dark it doesn’t have to mean limiting your activity. Make sure you choose activities you enjoy, you are more likely to commit to and benefit from participating in them. If you find that exercise is fun then you’ll go back for more. This will keep you active, the immune system pumped up and will keep those feel good hormones coming. No more winter blues.  

The cold weather is just a barrier some of us will need to overcome, it’s not a reason to not be active at all. 

You can do this! Let’s stay motivated!

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