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How to keep fit in the winter

The weather outside may be frightful, but keeping fit this winter can still be delightful. Discover some great tips for staying active, come rain, wind or snow, during these colder months. 

Is it normal to be less active in winter? 

If you find yourself exercising less in winter, you’re certainly not alone. According to one survey, a fifth of adults see their exercise levels drop by as much as 37% during the winter months, citing colder temperatures and darker mornings and evenings as the reason for being less active. 

Why exercising in winter is important 

As tempting as it may be to follow the example of many in the animal kingdom and spend winter in hibernation, exercising in winter is just as important as in any other season.  Exercising in cold weather can burn more calories than in warm weather, since the body needs to burn extra fat to produce energy in order to heat it back up to the ideal temperature. 

It can also give the immune system a much-needed boost. During winter, our immune systems often become weaker, making us prone to catching more bugs and viruses. Exercising in cold weather means your immune system works harder to defend itself against the elements, helping your body to fight off infections. 

6 ways to keep fit this winter 

Ready to emerge from under the blanket and get active? Take a look at our top tips for putting a spring in your step…even when the weather is decidedly un-springlike!   

1. Turn your front room into a gym

If your get up and go doesn’t quite extend to getting up and going out in the cold, then why not turn your living space into your own personal gym? Not literally of course, but with lots of great home workout videos on YouTube, it doesn’t matter if you’ve only got a limited space to move about in, you can still do a variety of exercises. 

A home environment is great for: 

  • Yoga and Pilates 
  • Dancing (who doesn’t love a kitchen disco?) 
  • High-intensity exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers and star jumps 
  • Push ups, sit ups and squats 
  • Jogging on the spot

2. Wear the right clothes

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing as the old saying goes. Nothing is more likely to have you fleeing back to the comfort of your sofa than being cold and wet in unsuitable exercise clothing. It’s not about having expensive branded gear, the secret is to ensure you wear the right layers of clothing, which includes a base layer, middle layer and outer layer. You should also consider wearing a hat and gloves to protect your extremities in particularly cold weather.

3. Find a fitness buddy

If you struggle to find the motivation to get out for a walk, jog or run in winter, why not try partnering up with a friend, colleague or neighbour who shares similar fitness goals? Turning it into a social event can motivate you to reach your targets – you’re also less likely to skip a session if others are relying on you. 

Exercising with a friend can also help keep you safe, particularly outside of daylight hours when visibility is poor. Please note that even when there is two of you, it’s always best to stick to well-lit, familiar surroundings. 

4. Find an exercise class near you

If you find going to the gym a little too intimidating, you might enjoy joining an exercise class instead. Whether you like Yoga, Spin, Zumba or Aerobics, getting active in a group setting is a great way to stay motivated and socialise, especially in winter when days are shorter and you are less likely to be out and about with friends. Why not try our Livewell Finder tool which can help you find fitness classes in your local area?

5. Make time for exercise in your daily routine

With the days being shorter, you may feel you simply don’t have time for exercise, but by incorporating fitness into your daily routine, you’ll find fewer excuses to skip it. We can all find 30 minutes a day – even if it means getting up half an hour earlier. If you schedule daily exercise in your calendar, it becomes part of your routine for the day, just like brushing your teeth or having a shower.  Whenever possible, try and exercise in the morning to help set your metabolism for the day and make use of precious daylight hours.

6. Mix it up!

Adding a little variety to your winter workouts can help avoid the monotony of doing the same exercise every day which could lead to demotivation.  It can also help you focus on different areas, such as flexibility, core, balance, strength, etc. For example, one day you could try yoga, the next day running, then switch to a home workout, etc. Don’t forget to factor in rest days too so your muscles and joints have a chance to recover. 

Want to know more about how to stay fit in winter? 

The temperature may have dropped, but that doesn’t mean your motivation has to! If you live in Dorset and are looking for support in keeping fit this winter, LiveWell Dorset is here to help. Our dedicated team of coaches and advisors can help you reach your goals, whatever the weather. Register with us today to find out more. 

Read more: 

Georgina

"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

View full story

How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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