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How to exercise in winter: Part 2

29 January 2021

Physical

Posted on: 29 January 2021

It’s still cold and dark out, but it’s so important for our physical and mental health to keep up fitness levels. Here are simple ways to get motivated when the weather outside is frightful.

Warm up in the house

The thought of heading out into the cold is enough to put anyone off. So do a 6-8 minute warm up in the house – start with marching on the spot and move into star jumps, lunges, high knees etc. Breaking a sweat indoors means that when you head outside the cold air feels refreshing and you can go straight into your run.

Don’t let bad weather be an excuse

Sometimes the weather is rubbish – this is the UK after all! When it’s freezing cold or pouring with rain and you don’t want to go out, turn to an indoors workout instead. You don’t need any weights for bodyweight workouts – for example, the NHS’ Strength and Flex plan is designed to be equipment-free and easy to follow.

Mix it up

Ideally we should do a mixture of exercise to build our strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness. Varying your exercise will stop you getting bored and helps prevent injury.

  • Aerobic exercise includes anything that gets your heart rate up: running, cycling, swimming, dance, circuit training, and team sports like football and rugby.
  • These activities will also build muscle, but for strength-specific exercise try weightlifting, using strength-building equipment at the gym, or weight-bearing workouts like kettlebells.
  • Finally, work on your flexibility and balance with yoga, Pilates or stretching exercises.

Remind yourself why it's important

In those moments when you have to climb out of a warm, cosy bed and head into the cold, it can be difficult to remember how great you will feel afterwards. Exercising helps boost your body's 'feel good' endorphins and blasts away those winter blues.

Many people who start exercising get frustrated when they don’t lose weight or feel fit right away. The mental health benefits, on the other hand, happen almost immediately. People feel better, less stressed and more relaxed.

Have a post-workout routine to look forward to

It’s helpful to have a routine to help you relax after your workout. Take a hot shower or bath with some salts to soothe tired and aching muscles. Change into clean PJs or loungewear, relax with a cup of tea and bask in the satisfaction of ticking off another workout.

Enjoyed this article? Check out part 1 for more great tips on exercising in the winter months.

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