Between the days and nights getting darker and the weather getting colder, winter can have a huge impact when it comes to your fitness routine.
As salads are swapped for snacks and runs for a new Netflix box set, it’s important to keep fit during winter. You don’t want the last six, eight, or ten months to go to waste do you?
If this is causing you concern, we’ve highlighted a number of ways you can fight hibernation mode to keep fit during winter below.
Why staying healthy in the winter months is important
While you may be tempted to sink into the sofa under a cosy blanket, neglecting a good winter diet and exercise could be bad for you in a number of ways.
It’s this period that’s most to blame for all the those added pounds. In fact, research has found that on average, winter weight gain can be anywhere from 5 – 10 pounds.
Other problems you could encounter by cutting out exercise during this time period include:
- A decrease in cardiopulmonary fitness within three to eight weeks of not exercising
- A loss of advantages you’ve made during your fitness journey
- Within three to six months of not exercising you’ll be back at square one
- It’ll be even harder to lose winter weight once you start exercising again
Your weight isn’t the only problem either. Neglecting to keep fit during winter by locking ourselves away can have a determinantal effect on our mental health.
However, there are ways to combat this through a winter diet and exercise regime that can leave you feeling great.
How to keep fit during winter
While the summer brings brightness and warmth, the perfect combination for outdoor runs, you may not want to face the cold that winter brings. This doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising, and, maybe now is the time to look into joining the local gym.
If the gym looks a little pricey, especially at this time of year, take a look at your local leisure centre, where you can often find pay-as-you-go classes. There are also gyms that offer rolling memberships, meaning you’re not tied to a 6 – 12-month commitment.
With gyms and leisure centres come plenty of alternatives to outdoor fitness classes. These may include:
- Body pump
- HIIT classes
- Aerobic classes
- Water aerobics
- Dance classes
Of course, if these still feel a little out of reach, or if you find it hard to get to the gym or leisure centre regularly, there’s always home workouts. Platforms such as YouTube are goldmines for online exercise classes you can take advantage of.
You could even stay healthy with a personal trainer from home, with many offering online classes and tutorials following the 2020 lockdown.
Exercise for winter
Despite the benefits of gyms and leisure centres, it’s worth noting that exercising during the winter months, especially outside, can still be beneficial with the cold bringing several advantages.
- Helping to strengthen your heart
- Help with weight control
- More energy due to the lack of heat and humidity
- Extreme temperatures, hot and cold, have been shown to enhance endurance and mental edge
- Can help to boost energy
- Can help to strengthen your body’s defences against coughs and colds
- Can enhance your mood and lower chances of depression
- They can help you sleep better
- Reduce stress
One of the biggest advantages to exercising in the cold however is fat burning. Research has found that cold weather can turn white fat, such as belly and thigh fat, into brown fat.
Often referred to a ‘good fat’, the purpose of brown fat is to burn calories and generate height, which can help you to lose weight during the winter.
However, it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with exercising outside. Try and keep it to a minimum to avoid hypothermia, and ensure you dress up in additional layers before heading out.
How to stay healthy in the winter months
Of course, winter wellness doesn’t begin and end with exercise and exercise alone.
While spending lots of time indoors watching TV and binging on chocolate, cheese, and wine, may feel great at first, too much time being locked up can have a negative effect on your mental health.
Therefore, it’s important to counteract this, and while exercise can help, make sure you’re taking time to stop and think about your feelings to prevent slipping into low moods.
Doing yoga and Pilates at home are great additions to winter exercise routines for this exact reason.
Stay healthy with a personal trainer
One good way of keeping yourself on track during this time is to work with a personal trainer.
If you’re already working with one, or if you are one and have clients you want to keep on track, there are a number of things you can do to keep fit during winter.
- Make winter goals – this will give you direction and purpose. In the same way you may aim for a beach body in the summer, stop and recalibrate those goals to how you want to feel-post Christmas.
- New routines – if you’ve been doing the same routines for the past six months, while they may be working, the cold weather may make you want to stay inside rather than facing a regular routine. By mixing up your exercise pattern, or the exercises you do, this will keep the routine fresh and new for you.
- Exercises – reduce sessions such as HIIT and outdoor running, opting for weight training and strengthening exercises instead. Many athletes concentrate on this during winter, aiming to build muscle and get strong over the winter period, before reducing it and continuing cardio in the spring.
- Outdoor – don’t overlook the great outdoors, and make sure you do at least one outdoor run a week. This is not just good for exercise but your mental health too.
If you’re a personal trainer looking to advance your skillset, or you’re thinking of starting a new career in fitness, now is the ideal time. Get in touch today and find out how Focus Training can help you.