Winter is commonly the time when weight is gained and exercise regimes are shelved. When the clocks go back, thousands of Irish people call “time” on exercise. Studies have shown that the arrival of winter is a cue to draw the blinds, switch on the telly to watch Love/Hate and break out the crisps and chocolate…..do you do that??
Physical activity levels definitely fluctuate with our erratic seasons, so we need to make an extra effort to be physically active in the winter because this is when our activity levels tend to decline.
Any kind of physical activity is good, but the best kind is obviously one that you are actually going to commit to. Research shows that people are most likely to remain motivated about exercise if it is part of a social activity.
To help you plan your winter activities, here is a great plan to follow:
- Warm up! A proper warm-up is critical. Cold temperatures can make muscles tight and more prone to injuries. Remember it should be dynamic before you start, no static stretches on cold muscles please.
- Get yourself an exercise buddy. This will help keep you motivated and interested. I know this from personal experience!!
- There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear! Dress in layers. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material, like polypropylene, which draws the sweat away from the body. Next try fleece for insulation. Top this off with a waterproof outer layer (it is Ireland after all)! You should wear a hat to keep in the heat.
- Start a walking group at lunchtime. This is an ideal opportunity to get 15 minutes minimum exercise into your day. Remember, 30 minutes is the recommended dose and you can break this up into two bouts if you wish. This is also very good for keeping the body generally supple and prevents an accumulation of stress in the lower back from long hours of commuting and sitting at your desk all day.
- Join a yoga or Pilates class (we teach pilates!). Both disciplines are excellent for keeping you supple and flexible. You are also more likely to keep motivated if you have paid for the classes and have it in your diary.
- Train for a charity event. You can work to help others while you work out, and nothing beats having a goal to work towards.
- Finally….did you know? Studies have found that adults who get regular moderate exercise have significantly fewer colds. If you just have a sniffle, wrap up well and get out for a walk. If the cold is in your chest, avoid the exercise. Consult your doctor if you have possible flu symptoms such as fever, muscle aches or heavy coughing.
Verdict: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear! If you need help resolving a niggle before you embark on your winter fitness regime, just call us on 01-213 7000