It’s been a hot, humid summer, shortly, however, it’s that time of year again when the seasons start to change and the temperature starts to drop – winter is coming! Autumn and winter are fantastic seasons but can present some challenges for maintaining good health and fitness. It always seems harder to drag ourselves away from our warm bed on a dark winter’s morning to get up and exercise.
Today’s blog offers some top tips on how to maintain and continue improving your health and wellness moving into winter. Don’t let your health and fitness be defined by the weather!
There are of course some extra hurdles training in winter which we may not face in summer and we need to acknowledge these and respect them so that we don’t cause ourselves harm. These include:
- More prone to colds – our immune systems have to adapt to the conditions and often a significant challenge of the winter months can be catching colds or the flu. Employing good health strategies is essential in reducing the strain on our immune system and in helping prevent colds and flu.
- Less sunlight – over the winter months, the sun rises later and sets earlier. This often means we need to get up when it’s still dark or exercise after work when the sun’s already set. The safety of exercise in the dark can be one concern, so dress to be seen! Reflective gear and a head torch are always a great go-to.
- Harder to get out of bed to exercise – when your bed is warm and cozy and it’s cold and windy outside, it always takes greater discipline to get out of bed. Mind over matter is the way to go here.
- Cooler muscles – it is very important to warm up and cool down properly before and after exercise. Cold muscles can be more prone to sustain strains if not warmed up properly. 10 mins to warm up and cool down works well. The best warm-up is a dynamic, activity-specific warm-up using your major muscles and getting your heart rate up. Cooldown should generally involve light stretching and layering back up if it’s cold.
- Life – Life seems to get busy but imperative to prioritise time and energy to invest into your health and fitness over the colder months to prevent sickness and sliding back into poorer health.
Top Tips for winter training:
Taking the right steps and planning well, the winter months can be some of the most enjoyed and most healthy months you will ever have. Some top tips for shipshape winter training include:
- Keep drinking plenty of water – Even if you don’t feel hot and sweaty it’s important to drink. Dehydration leaves the body in a less than ideal state and increases the risk of sickness. So make sure you keep hydrated this winter!
- Make a plan – as the sunlight becomes less and the conditions get colder, if we don’t have a plan in place it’s easy to opt out and fall out of the routine we have.
- Set ‘SMART’ goals – goal setting is essential at all times to help maintain motivation, especially in the colder months. ‘SMART’ goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time. Goals help motivate us and keep us focused.
- Join a gym – 24-hour gyms provide excellent training environments out of the elements and group classes offer fantastic group fitness interaction and learning.
- Don’t hit the snooze button! – The snooze button in winter is one of the worst options. The lure of the snooze button may be high, but don’t fall for it! Hitting snooze always leads to more sleep and less exercise. Get out of bed straight away – that way you can get up and go with your morning exercise.
Top winter sports to do:
- Surfing – wear a wetsuit though as it’s will be cold
- Early morning walks – excellent to do with a friend.
- Gym classes – indoor environment.
- Squash, indoor bowls, ten pin bowling
You could also try something different and fun that you have never done before like indoor rock climbing or swimming lessons.
Physiotherapists are exercise and rehab experts and if you want to get in shape or maintain your physical health and fitness this winter, speak to your local physiotherapist who can help you develop a specific, individualised physical activity plan to keep you fit and healthy. Happy, healthy training!