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Winter Workouts

Winter is here. And even if the temperature doesn’t dip to where your fingers feel like they’re going to snap off where you are, the weather certainly does change. There is a direct correlation between the declining average temperature and the level of motivation to exercise for most.

Let’s face it; winter is a pretty miserable time to be outside. It’s cold, grey and often wet – hardly an appealing prospect for exercise enthusiasts and wannabes alike.

However, for the sake of your health and wellbeing, it is essential to keep active over the colder months and not fall into the trap of ‘human hibernation’. Still not convinced? Here are just some of the reasons why you should prioritise exercise during winter:

Natural Warmth

It’s easy to think, “ugh, it’s so cold – why would I go outside?” Good point – it’s a bleak prospect. The fact of the matter is though; exercise creates natural heat through your body. In fact, our metabolic rate increases slightly in colder weather allowing our bodies to stay warm – all while burning a few extra calories. With no heat or humidity to deal with, you should be able to exercise for longer, meaning it will be easier to hit your fitness goals over the winter months if you approach them properly.

This is also a good way to cut household costs – next time you’re thinking of blasting the heater, consider going for a brisk run or walk instead. Your body (and your bank account) will thank you for it.

Beat the Blues With Sunshine

It can get a little bleak and miserable in winter, however living in Australia means we’re still likely to find the sun breaking through on occasion during even the greyest of weeks. If you see the sun poking through the clouds, use this as your cue to soak up some vitamin D.

Getting outdoors can help prevent the common ‘winter blues’ or the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is thought to be a biochemical result of a lack of daylight, causing reduced production of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’.

If you’re working from home and you see the sun come out, try and move your workstation to the backyard or balcony if you have one to soak up the rays.

Stay Social

It’s natural to retreat to the comfort of your own home in winter – who doesn’t like curling up with multiple layers of clothing, warm food and Netflix?

Buy buddying up with a friend or a group, you’re more likely to stick to your exercise commitments, keep one another accountable and get in a good catch up while you’re there. It’s very rare you’d ever think, that was a bad idea, after a group fitness session or meeting up with a friend to enjoy a nice walk, run or bike ride together through a local park.

Avoid Winter Weight

Red wine, hot chocolate, gooey cheese and hearty soup. No, this is not my plan for tonight (unfortunately). Do they sound like your winter comfort foods, though?

It is so easy to fall into the trap of eating for comfort during the colder months. Good, hearty food when you’re feeling cold can feel like a warm hug… And sometimes you need it – just be mindful of how often you’re looking for that gratification.

Winter should be an opportunity to get yourself fit and healthy.

A study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism notes that being outside in cold weather helps transform white fat (i.e. belly and thigh fat) into brown fat, which is commonly known as the ‘good fat’ as it helps burn, rather than store, calories.

If you still find it hard to get motivated, keep your winter workouts varied and interesting. Switch up your usual routine to move your activities to a time that you’re more likely to stick to, like lunchtime or before dinner, rather than first thing in the morning.

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