How to Keep Active This Winter
When it’s minus five and pitch black outside, the last thing that most of us want to do is bounce out of bed, bundle up and begin bounding down the frosty pavements on an early morning jog. But don’t worry - there are plenty of tips and tricks for getting in those steps and raising your heart rate, even when time gets tight and temperatures drop approaching the festive season.
Get into a realistic routine
It’s no good telling yourself that tomorrow morning you’re going to transform into the type of person who enjoys that 6am spin class, or vice versa finds a burst of energy after work to smash out that weights session at the gym, if you know it’s simply not realistic for you. Instead, work with your existing habits and find creative ways to fit in your daily exercise. You could go to that lunchtime yoga session you’ve always fancied, get off the tube/train/tram one stop early and walk the rest of the way, or even take your lunch to go and take a long walk during your break. Or, if the only time you really can carve out is early in the morning or late in the evening, keep your motivation high by giving yourself a reward (like buying your favourite gingerbread latte on the way to the office), and reminding yourself what your end goal is.
Find something you love
It’s easier to get yourself out of the house and battle through the wind and rain if you’re excited about what you’re going to do. If you’re not into running, try cycling or HIIT workouts. Want something less strenuous? Give your local swimming pool or pilates studio a visit. If you feel like you need to mix things up a bit then even give dance classes a go, or find out what an aerial silks class actually is (please report back tysm). You’ll only find out what exercise you love by trying everything at least once - so get outside your comfort zone!
(Image courtesy of Sundried)
Wear the right gear
When temperatures plummet, it’s important to keep warm and dry when you exercise outside. It can be tempting to head out on a frosty bike ride bundled up like the Michelin man, but instead, try to choose your gear tactically to optimise your performance. Layering up rather than wearing one heavy hoodie or jacket will ensure you can regulate your temperature during every stage of exercise. It’s much more appealing to venture outside if you know you won’t get too cold or overheat half way through your session.
(Image courtesy of Sundried)
Refuel and recharge
If you’re making an effort to be active this winter, then it’s really important to fuel your body properly. Eating plenty of slow release carbs, protein (there are some great plant-based sources!) and healthy fats will keep your body running smoothly while you’re running around this December! Time saving recipes hacks will also help you get those five extra minutes in bed before work in the morning - and we all know that a decent night’s sleep is vital. Getting enough Z’s helps your body repair after exercise, and ensures you have enough energy to tackle your trip to the gym as well as your trip to the shops to buy those last minute presents (both equally as exhausting!).
Don’t be too hard on yourself
At the end of the day, this time of year is all about enjoying yourself - so don’t feel guilty for having that extra mince pie, skipping your 5k for a shopping spree, or spending the day curled up on the sofa after the office Christmas party. Balance is important in sustaining a healthy lifestyle, so I hope that these tips help you keep active whilst still enjoying all of the winter wonders this year!