Tips for staying active and healthy this winter

Exercise during winter can sometimes feel like a chore. It may be easier to reach out of your doona and hit the snooze button on your phone, right?

However, the benefits you can gain from hauling your sorry self into regular exercise during winter far outweigh the downsides. Exercise improves muscle mass and decreases body fat. Also, a flood of endorphins elevate your mood and give you a feeling of well-being. This has flow-on effects in how you perform in your workplace, your home life and in daily activities.

Listen to your body

Winter often brings with it an increased vulnerability to a cold or flu. If you are feeling ‘under the weather’ with aches, body pains and a fever, it’s best to visit your GP. Or alternately to cease your regular exercise until you feel better.

How to stay motivated

Although people tend to associate winter with increased weight gain, one US study found otherwise. Research showed that there was only a small correlation between reduced physical activity, colder weather and weight gain. Although that’s no reason to start eating unhealthily or to cease exercise. Keeping the right balance is what will keep you healthy, fit and happy during the short days and long nights.  

 

1. Stay hydrated

The air during winter can be dry, cold and harsh. Although because it’s cold we often won’t feel as thirsty as we would in hot weather. Dehydration can affect the functionality and lubrication of muscles and joints, making you more susceptible to injury. So always remember to keep drinking plenty of water during winter. We recommend approximately eight glasses per day.   

 

2. Workout with friends

It’s easier to get out of bed for a jog or to attend netball when you know you have friends counting on your participation.  

 

3. Plan and prepare

As the old saying goes: ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. It’s much easier to stay motivated to exercise when you have your running shoes, yoga mat or workout gear ready for you in the morning. Also consider moving your regular outdoor workout to the early evening after work, when the cold isn’t as intense compared to the early morning.

 

4. Set achievable goals

Instead of saying: ‘I want to enter into an Iron Man Competition by summer’. Or, ‘I want to lose 20 kilos by the summer’, keep your goals for exercise realistic, specific and measurable. A better goal could be: ‘I want to take the dog for a 40 minute walk every other day’. Or, ‘I want to take the stairs up to my office every morning’. Then set a recurring calendar item on your phone to remind yourself.

 

5. Choose the right exercise for you

The kind of exercise that’s right for you will be a combination of several factors. It will involve an activity you enjoy, along with an exercise that’s within your current physical capabilities. This is the magical recipe that will keep you interested in the long term. If you absolutely love dancing, but you feel obligated to continue jogging in order to stay fit, then you have it back to front! Make it easier by doing physical activities that you genuinely enjoy.

 

6. Seek professional guidance

The team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy will be able to advise you on the best form of exercise to match your current fitness levels, lifestyle, health and physical capabilities.

 

How to warm up properly before exercise

A warm-up is essential before any workout. However it’s even more critical when exercising outdoors in winter.  If you decide to brave the cold, ensure that you give your body extra time to warm up and get your heart and lungs pumping. Warm-ups are vital because they reduce the risk of injury and prepare your body for higher intensity exercise. A warm-up will progress in intensity and should last about ten minutes in duration.

Your warm-up should be specific to each sport and training session because different muscle groups need to be activated. For example a warm up prior to cardio training will be slightly different to a warm-up before a weights session.

 

Warm-up for a cardio session

  • A one kilometer walk.
  • Hip openers, leg swings, A-march, B-march, walking lunges, squats.  
  • Single leg hops, bounding, run throughs.

Warm-up for a weights session

  • For a lower limb focused weights or strengthening session, you should focus on your lower body for your warm up. Include weighted squats and lunges, air squats, glute bridges, skipping and leg swings (forwards and backwards).
  • For a weights or strengthening session that is focused on the upper body, you should warm up these muscles. Start with shoulder presses, rows and bench pressing. Then try out arm swings (forwards and backwards), theraband activation of rotator cuff muscles, and theraband rows.

For more information on warming-up effectively, speak with one of the friendly expert team at Maroubra Road Physiotherapy.

How to stay consistent with your training during winter

According to experts from Mississippi State University, you have three ways you can stay warm over the winter. You can either modify your food intake, your activity level or your clothing.

Experts from Exercise and Sports Science Australia take a broad view of what constitutes as exercise. Their tips for successfully maintaining training and exercise regimen during winter are simply summed up in two words – move more!

 

Move more

People who maintain healthy exercise habits during winter are those who are always doing something. They could be walking up six flights of stairs instead of taking the lift. They could be taking the dog for a walk in the evenings. Or having a lunch time walking meeting. If you take every opportunity to move your body during winter, it will reward you with increased flexibility, fitness and strength. The important thing is to keep on moving every day for at least 30 minutes per day.

 

Commit yourself to an exercise class

Another way of staying consistent with your exercise during winter is to commit to a dedicated exercise class. Maroubra Road Physiotherapy have several classes a week that are run by experts in exercise physiology and physiotherapy. These classes will help you to gain or maintain your strength, conditioning and flexibility.

 

Balance and Conditioning classes

This progressive class is especially designed for people with balance issues due to general deconditioning from age or injury. The classes are taught by a physiotherapist who specialises in movement and rehabilitation.

 

When:           Select a time that suits you.

Tuesday 2.30 pm

Friday 11.00 am

Cost:              Check with your health fund if you may be eligible for cover.

$25 per session.

 

New patients. $80 for an initial 30 minute screening to evaluate your current fitness level, goals and any pre-existing medical conditions. This also includes one free trial class.

Who:              Anyone is welcome, however spots are limited. Please register your interest by calling 02 9314 3888.

Where:          Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. Shop 4-5, 16 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, 2035.

Core Strengthening Classes

Whether you are suffering from pain or wanting to prevent injury – this class will engage your core and create body awareness and progressively build strength required for optimal function.

When:           Select a time that suits you.

Tuesday 3.15 pm

Wednesday 6.00 pm  

Friday 11.45 am

Cost:              Check with your health fund if you may be eligible for cover.

$25 per session.

New patients. $80 for an initial 30 minute screening to evaluate your current fitness level, goals and any pre-existing medical conditions. This also includes one free trial class.

Who:              Anyone is welcome, however spots are limited. Please register your interest by calling 02 9314 3888.

Where:          Maroubra Road Physiotherapy. Shop 4-5, 16 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, 2035.

 

Maroubra Road Physiotherapy treat people at all stages of their lives and for all kinds of reasons with our caring, experienced and professional team. Book an appointment today on (02) 9314 3888

 

References

 

The Conversation, (2019) It’s cold! An exercise physiologist explains how to keep your body feeling warm. Dr John Eric Smith. Assistant Professor, Exercise Physiology. Mississippi State University

NHS (2018) A Guide to Exercising During Winter

University of Massachusetts Medical School (2006) Seasonal variation in food intake, physical activity, and body weight in a predominantly overweight population. Y Ma et. al.

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (2018) 15 Exercise Habits You Need

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