By Micheál Heffernan | With thanks to Tescohealthandwellbeing
Friday, 28 November 2014.
There’s nothing like cold weather to test your resolve. The chillier it gets, the more tempted we are to snuggle up on the couch and put workout plans on the backburner. However, healthy living doesn’t hibernate, and cold weather needn’t be an obstacle to getting active – it just means working smarter, not harder.
Ways to stay active no matter what the weather
Colder weather does funny things to workout motivation. The more we think about facing into bad weather, the less likely we’ll be to actually get moving, and settling down for the night means that you’ll find a way to avoid exercise. The secret is to not give yourself time to think about it. If you do, you might find more reasons to stay put than to go out – particularly when that sofa is looking so warm and inviting!
Here’s how you can beat that devil on your shoulder:
- Bring your gym bag to work so you can hit the gym straight after work.
- Don’t wait until after you’ve completed your errands to exercise – it’ll just mean you’ll have less, energy and motivation. Remember, your health should be a priority: treat it with the respect it deserves.
- Brave the elements – once you’ve gotten over the initial outdoor chill and have started moving, you’ll soon warm to the task.
Did you know?
Researchers claim that each hour spent watching TV shortens life expectancy by 22 minutes. This means that those who spend 6 hours a day on front of the TV risk dying 5 years sooner than those leading a more active lifestyle.*
*Research conducted by University of Queensland, Australia.
Walking is one of the most accessible and enjoyable ways of exercising. Not only is it good for cardiovascular health, it can also help boost your immune system, improve your mood and increase your energy levels. Whether you do it alone for some peace and quiet or prefer it when in the company of friends, walking is a hugely effective and versatile way of staying active. In the words of Hippocrates, the Ancient Greek father of modern medicine, "walking is man's best medicine."
If it’s simply too miserable out to stir beyond the front door, don’t – turn your home into a gym instead! There are lots of exercises you can do to stretch, strengthen and tone your body without needing expensive equipment or a huge amount of space. For step-by-step exercise instructions have a read through any of the following articles.
7 easy exercises to shape up on the go
Core fitness: firm up your body with a solid base
Getting through each of our day-to-day tasks can leave us feeling drained. One great way of re-energising yourself and getting those motivation levels back up there is by pumping up the volume! Listening to your favourite power playlist can get you in the mood to move – whether it’s to walk, run, skip or just dance around the living room!
Get up, stand up!
Whether you’re in the office or at home all day, you’ll feel healthier the more you move. You don’t have to slip the trainers and gym gear on to get some activity in – simple things like taking a stroll during your lunch break, putting out the bins, tapping your foot or walking to the shops instead of driving all count towards keeping active.
50 ways to burn 100 calories
Did you know?
Getting 30 minutes of activity a day can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 35%, your risk of Type-2 diabetes by 50% and your risk of osteoarthritis by 83%.*
Join a club
Whether it’s a spinning class or badminton club, joining a group offers you the chance to vary your workouts and keep things interesting by exercising with others. For some, joining a club, class or gym may provide a competitive edge to spur motivation; for others, group activity can help them achieve their health and fitness goals by offering a sense of support, encouragement and community.
Swimming is a low-impact exercise that’s great for heart health, muscle tone, calorie burning and joint mobility. It’s also an excellent way of staying active at any age and any time of year. And because swimming pools are heated, there’s no need to worry about the weather outside, so why wait? Dive in!
Keep track of your activities in the Fitness Diary.
Some final tips before you go out there
Before you head out to show the cold just who’s boss, take heed to read these last few words of advice.
Dress properly for winter workouts
If you’re heading out to get your exercise, be sure to wear layers of clothing. Try wear some form of wicking material under your outer layers and make sure your protect your extremities by donning a hat and gloves.
Be safe – be seen
With the evenings darker, being visible to motorists is essential to safety. Wear reflective clothing no matter what time of day you head out, and try to ‘buddy up’ with somebody if you prefer walking at night.
When cold becomes too cold
If the temperature outside is below freezing, give your walk or run a miss or swap it for an indoor activity. Exercising in sub-zero temperatures can be risky for a number of reasons – not least the danger of slipping and ending up injured for weeks or months. So, when it’s icy out, you’ll probably need to keep the exercise indoors.
It may be raining out, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid taking fluids. Dehydration can occur in the cold just as easily as it can in warmer weather, so make sure to drink before, during and after exercising.