Staying Fit in the cold:
During these cold wet months it is all too tempting to close the curtains and snuggle under the duvet! Winter also has a tendency to make us reach for more fattening, comfort food, which combined with too much time sat on your bottom can see the pounds start to pile on!
This year, instead of getting fat, get fit! Going outside for a brisk walk or run will not only help you stay in shape, but it will increase your circulation and help you to stay warmer for longer! Exercise can help you to stay at a healthy weight or lose any excess weight and will keep your muscles strong and joints mobile. If you manage to get outside for your exercise you will increase the amount of daylight that you see which can help prevent the winter blues. Choosing group exercise can also help to keep you cheery as you meet up with friends or learn new skills.
Training outside will give you a huge boost and a rosy glow in your cheeks, but if you really can’t face the rain, then why not take advantage of some fun indoor activity? Being cold can increase stiffness and muscle aches, so why not try Bikram Yoga, a challenging 90 minute yoga class performed in around 40 degrees heat. The warmth helps your muscles to stretch and if you close your eyes you can pretend you are on the beach! Circuit or boxing style training is a sure fire way to burn huge amounts of calories and fat indoors, and this type of interval training can help to boost your metabolism.
If you don’t have time for classes, then don’t despair; you don’t have to spend hours slogging at the gym to stay fit. Short bursts of vigorous activity can have an amazing impact on your fitness levels and metabolism. Try performing circuits at home, mixing skipping, push ups, star jumps and burpees. It is hard work, but stick with it for 20 minutes and you will really benefit. It is also important to remember that general activity counts towards your calorie burn and general fitness so walk whenever possible and as fast as possible and always take the stairs, not lifts. Get yourself a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps every day.
Exercising through the winter months can not only help you stay fit and toned, but moderate exercise can actually help to boost your immunity, helping you to prevent those seasonal bugs. (Although don’t push too hard or too often though, as that can have an adverse effect, lowering your immunity and making you more susceptible to colds and flu.)
So, to stay fit, warm, healthy and happy until spring arrives, try to get outdoors every day to maximise your exposure to daylight, exercise to uplifting music (such as a Zumba class) to keep your spirits up and fat down, and make the most of seasonal foods such as sweet potato mash and homemade soups for a comforting but healthy diet.