As the temperatures drop, most people prefer to spend most of their time indoors, either at the office or at home. Outdoor activities are shelved until the beginning of Spring. But before you ditch your exercise efforts, you may want to understand why getting active and staying active in Winter is even more important, not just for your fitness. Here are 5 reasons why it's even more important to exercise in Winter:
1. Think of winter. Most of us conjure up images of red wine, cheese, hot chocolate, pies and a crackling fire. No wonder it’s known as the ‘winter weight gain’. It can be even harder to resist unhealthy temptations and stodgy food in the cold and the only way to make up for that is to increase the amount of exercise you’re doing.
That glass of wine will cost you 30-minutes of walking. Just 2 cubes of cheese will be another 30-minutes. And the hot chocolate? A full hour of walking is what you need to work that off.
The human body needs to produce a lot of energy in winter in order to keep warm, so if you exercise in winter, you will be able to burn even more calories than you can in Summer! The added bonus of continuing exercise in Winter is by the end of winter, you will not have to worry about struggling to lose the extra kilos you put on to get back in shape for Spring and Summer.
2. There’s a reason it’s called the sunshine vitamin. While there are a limited number of foods that can provide your body with vitamin D, the easiest source is from exposure of your skin to sunlight.
During summer a short exposure of 10-15 minutes is plenty, but in winter sunshine can be harder to come by, especially when you’re huddled indoors. But that’s why it’s even more important to get outside and get moving.
Vitamin D gives you strong bones, helps in calcium absorption and keeps your immune system strong. If that’s not enough, research has also found that this handy vitamin can even help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
3. Regular exercise strengthens your immune system so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important in winter when colds and flu rear their ugly heads.
When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly helping them seek and destroy infections. But this boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects.
4. Being cooped up with nothing but heaters to keep the air moving means fresh air is much harder to come by in winter! Generally, the air outside is healthier then that inside so exercising outdoors gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs.
5. Whether it’s the usual winter blues or the more serious SAD (seasonal affective disorder) putting a gloom over the colder months, a daily workout releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals, gives you a break from the daily grind and helps ease depression. After at least 10 minutes of exercise, the brain releases “feel-good” chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which can help to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting well-being proving once again that exercise is the greatest anti-depressant!
Remember the resolutions you set at the beginning of the year about keeping fit? So, don't break them now due to colder weather. Keep exercising, stay healthy and see the rewards in Spring!
Lifestylist Health & Fitness