Winter is well and truly on its way and the cooler weather can bring with it the winter blues. Have you felt your MOTIVATION levels drop, a lack of ENERGY and that pep in your step seems to have disappeared? Read to find out why exercising this winter is your tool to stay HEALTHY and HAPPY.
1. Get your heart pumping and the blood flowing!
Are you someone who seems to feel the cold more than everyone else and are constantly piling on the layers in winter? Why not save on the electricity bill and gain some extra health benefits by internally heating up your body through movement.
As we move our body temperature rises and can produce a soothing, warming sensation similar to sitting in a nice warm bath or next to the fire. This sensation can last long after your workout is over, keeping you warmer throughout the day.
2. Keep the comfort food at bay.
When it is colder outside our bodies naturally born more energy to keep our internal body temperatures at a stable level. Although during the winter months we are more inclined to reach for those hearty comfort foods to make us feel good, which are often higher in calories. Getting in regular exercise during these months can reduce the impact those higher calorie meals are having on your waistline. The average person gains 4kg over winter but sneaking in an extra workout or walk here and there can reduce this number.
3. Improve your immune system and avoid the flu.
It is no secret that with the winter chill comes the flu season too, but did you know that engaging in regular physical activity actually improves your immune system! When we exercise our hearts beat faster, pumping more blood around our body at a quicker rate. This assists immune cells to circulate throughout the body, enabling them to find and remove infections before they can spread.
Unfortunately, this effect is only short term after about of exercise, reiterating why it’s important to be regular with your workouts.
4. Get some sun on your face.
The sun produces all important Vitamin D and during the summer months we generally require only 15mins of sun on our skin to get the benefits. This becomes more difficult during winter as the sunshine is harder to come by, particularly if we are spending all of our time indoors. Getting some activity in outside can provide you with your vitamin D dose making your bones stronger, improving your immune system and increasing your mood!
5. Put a smile on your dial and beat the winter blues.
It is not uncommon to feel a bit down during the winter months and it is possible to have more serious cases of this with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Sneaking in even a few minutes of exercise each day releases your “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine, to improve your mood, decrease stress and lower depressive symptoms. Bonus points if you complete your exercise outside as this will only further heighten the benefits.
If you are looking for some ways to increase your motivation during winter so that you can gain all of the wonderful benefits that exercise during the cooler months provides, have a look at our past blog “How to maintain motivation in winter” at http://www.optimumep.com.au/blog/category/motivation.
By, Aleisha Michael