The cooler weather and Winter blues can test even the most motivated among us, causing us to snooze our morning alarms, skip the gym and move less overall throughout the day.
The simple fact though, is that staying active during Winter is not only important for your mental and physical wellbeing - but can actually be enjoyable and the best time to make great progress and improve your health. Here's why:
The gym is quieter - just because everyone else is starting to slack on their routine, doesn't mean you should either! Take advantage of a quieter bustle in the gym, and use this as a chance to have more freedom with access to gym equipment, more space to train in and less risk of wasting time chatting away or getting distracted. Stay in the habit of showing up, and remember the saying - Summer bodies are made in the Winter. This is the time to increase the priority of your workouts - not decrease it.
It's an opportunity to take in more sunlight - while the thought of staying rugged up inside seems appealing, getting out into the fresh air and sunlight for some exercise will not only keep you physically active, but will also help you take in more Vitamin D during a time where it's often hard to get. This is important for strong bones, mood regulation, and making sure you're not at risk of the Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Aim for at least 30 minutes outside during the sunniest time of the day to reap as many benefits as you can. Plus, it's going to warm you up a lot more than sitting on your couch will! Which brings us to our next point....
It's the most inexpensive way to stay warm - you can save electricity effortlessly by heating your body up naturally with a workout. The rise in your body temperature during a workout, walk or run will have has a longer-lasting warming effect on your body by increasing circulation. Trust us, a long stint lying in front of the heater just can't do the same!
Exercise strengthens your immunity during Winter and cold and flu season - if you can keep up your active routine, you're not only doing your fitness level a favour, but your'e also boosting your immunity and overall health. When you exercise and get your blood pumping, you allow immune cells to circulate through your body more effectively - meaning they can more efficiently seek and destroy infections. You've probably experienced it yourself - it's often when we start slacking on our healthy habits (i.e. exercise) that we're struck down with that dreaded cold or flu - so try not to slow down too much so that you can stay on top of your wellbeing.
Staying active encourages better eating habits - it's a vicious cycle when we slack off on exercising, because it tends to lead to us also throwing the towel in with our healthy eating habits. If you're all-or-nothing when it comes to our exercise and eating - you're definitely not alone. Working out less causes less motivation to stay healthy overall because it negatively affects your mood, decreases your confidence, makes your feel less productive and puts you more at risk for emotional or boredom eating. Just a short bout of exercise can give you more endorphins and satisfaction than that carb-dense Winter Warming dessert will, and will set you up to make better food choices for the rest of your day.