With the cold windy season upon us and the prospect of a sunny morning run seeming like an impossible dream, maintaining your fitness becomes much more of a challenge, both physically and psychologically, over the winter months.
Whether you’re worried about your current physical health depleting, or you’re looking to start a new fitness regime, here are 5 sure-fire tips to let you stay in tip top physical condition over the winter season, tailored sympathetically to those of us who often find ourselves hibernating from the bitter breeze outside, as after all, we’re only human.
Okay, this may seem like an obvious one. But as obvious as it is, it still is hugely significant. There are plenty of workout clothes out there that provide warmth for your body, while simultaneously allowing your skin to breath. Not only does this keep you warmer and therefore happier, it is also physically essential for your body if exercising in very cold climates.
It is important you keep your muscles warm during exercise, allowing them to work to their optimum abilities and to avoid muscle strain. If, during a run, you stop even for just a few minutes, the cold temperature could leave your muscles seizing up, making the rest of your run physically much harder on your body.
Again, just a bit of common sense: if it’s icy on the street, aim for running on the grass or a dirt path to avoid any unwanted injuries!
This is an easy solution to avoiding the cold weather and achieving a great full body workout. The gym is especially beneficial as combining weight training with cardio gives you the most effective fat-burning fitness routine. And for a great way to warm your muscles down after a session of weight training, combine the two and go for a swim after the gym. This, while being a great way to add more cardio to your workout, is also known to ease the post-workout muscle aches.
Fun, motivating, and great for getting fit. From spin class to boxing, aerobics to yoga, exercise classes can give you a brilliant array of fitness training. While undoubtedly super beneficial for everyone, classes can be especially useful for those who are either new to fitness, struggle with self-motivation, or simply don’t tend to enjoy exercise, as exercise classes provide an informative, motivating, and enjoyable approach to getting fit.
So maybe the weather is simply too unbearable, and you've gone and spent all your gym money on Christmas presents. Not to worry, you've got everything you need to stay fit right on your doorstep - quite literally. Home workout routines become your body’s saviour when it’s cold and dark outside, but certainly should not be thought of as the lazy option for exercise. If done well, home workouts can be just as strenuous and beneficial as the rest.
Firstly, focus on circuit training. Choose a selection of different exercises which, when combined, work all your muscles, such as press ups, sit ups, tricep dips from a chair, and squats. Then, include cardio intervals of aerobic-style moves within your circuit routine, like jumping jacks, burpees, step ups or straight leg kicks.
To work the arms out a bit more, try using household objects as weights which can be incorporated into aerobic moves to involve the arms more, or even for performing arm exercises like bicep curls or chest press - tinned beans are a great option. Sound silly I know, but it works!
The key to the home workout is to remember that with only your body and maybe some light dumbbell alternatives for weight resistance, you need to keep the reps high, and resting time low. Do this for about 20 to 40 minutes, but don’t sacrifice intensity for duration - a shorter more intense workout is more effective than a longer easy-going one. With this you can create a super effective fat-burning and muscle-toning regime to keep you fit over winter, without even having to take a step outside.
Being physically fit and looking and feeling great isn’t just for the summer months, so don’t let the snow stop you in your tracks. Now get out there (or stay in here) and feel fab this winter!