24 Oct Stay Active in Winter: 9 Hints and Tips
It can be difficult to stay active in winter when it’s dark on waking and by the time you get home. However, physical activity is a crucial component of sustained weight loss and overall well being.
Evidence-based guidelines suggest that adults should aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. This should include strength exercises on 2 or more days per week. It is also recommended that children are active for 60 minutes each day. Therefore it is important that we try to stay active in winter.
The benefits of exercise are endless! An article by the NHS explains that people who do regular physical activity can reduce their risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 and depression to name a few.
However, with the cold and dark wintry months approaching, it can be difficult to get moving in the morning or active in the evening. Try following these tips to help you stay active in winter and the run up to Christmas!
Don’t hit snooze
When it’s cold and dark outside, it can be easy to hit the snooze button. Why not leave your phone on the other side of the room. That way you have to get out of bed to switch it off. Once you’re already out of bed you’re far more likely to do some physical activity before the day begins.
Being organised and prepared makes it much more likely that you feel that you have the time to be active. Try setting your gym clothes out the night before, packing a snack in your bag for a mid-afternoon energy boost or creating the ultimate motivational playlist. These are all little steps to help make staying active easier.
Keep your goals in mind
Are you training for a 5k or looking to achieve healthy weight loss? Trying to stay active without a purpose can be very difficult. By keeping your goals in mind you’re much more likely to feel motivated to go to the gym or get outside and stay active.
Get warm, stay warm
Doing a thorough warm up and wearing appropriate clothing (leggings, gloves, hat) will make exercising outdoors much more enjoyable, reduce the risk of catching a chill or becoming injured. Warming up is crucial to enable you to get the most out of your workout.
Exercise with a friend
If you struggle to find the motivation to stay active in winter, why not try exercising with a friend. Studies show that you are much more likely to stay active when you have a friend to hold yourself accountable to. Not only that, you’re also more likely to try harder, and try new things when you have someone spurring you on!
Keep your sleep topped up
Find yourself lacking the energy to go and exercise? Make sure you that you are getting enough sleep. Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep a night to see them through the day. Try turning off the TV and getting into bed an hour earlier to ensure your sleep is topped up. That way you are more likely to feel energised and ready to get up and get moving after a restful sleep.
Cold weather not for you? Just because winter weather isn’t your thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all. The internet is a fantastic resource for seeking inspiration for workouts that you can complete from the comfort of your own home. Many routines often involve body-weight exercises, proving that fancy gym equipment isn’t a necessity to stay active in winter.
When you’re trying to stay active in winter in the dark, it is always important to :
- Stay safe. Try and exercise with a friend or tell someone where you are going and when you think you will be back.
- Stay seen. Wear bright and reflective clothing to stay seen by others and by traffic. Ensure your bike is fitted with the correct lights and run with a head torch for extra visibility.
- Stay aware. Stay in busy and well-lit areas and avoid running to music so you can hear what’s going on around you. Take our phone with you so you can contact someone should you need to.
- Is it worth it? If it’s too rainy, snowy or icy, think about whether it is worth exercising outdoors. An injury from a slip or trip may set you back and prevent you from reaching your goals.
Keeping active through illness
Developing a cold can threaten to jeopardise your exercise plan. Symptoms not to severe and feel okay? If so, gentle exercise such as walking or cycling are advisable. Symptoms include a cough or fever? If so, it is advised to rest up until you feel better before you start exercising.
Looking for some extra support? Visit our Get Started Page to find out more about how we can support your weight loss with one of our free programmes.