A common difficulty we all face during winter is staying active when it is cold. Although this can be easily achievable to maintain during this period, whilst gaining all the health benefits physical activity has to offer. Currently the physical activity and exercise guidelines for adult Australians states; adults should be exercising on most days and aim for at least 150mins a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity i.e. brisk walking, golf, vacuuming or mowing the lawn. As well as muscle strengthening related activities on at least 2 days each week i.e. lifting weights, body-weighted exercises or household tasks that involve digging, lifting and carrying. Being active helps you stay mentally and physically healthy and create opportunities for socialising with friends and family.
So how can we stay active during these colder months? Well, you would be pleased to hear there a variety of options to keep us moving and stay active. Discussed below are some suggestions to get us exercising during this time:
Look for opportunities to move
It is all about reducing sitting and sedentary time throughout the day and finding ways to stay active. For those working from home and need to break up long periods of sitting. Set a timer on your computer or phone as a reminder to get up move, you might even take phone calls standing up and walk around the house. For those returning to work try parking further away from your workplace or getting off public transport one stop earlier are good ways to keep up with your exercise routine. Other ideas could include using a sit to stand desk, walking during your lunch break or organise a walking meeting rather than a sit down.
Importance of maintaining a routine
Building in physical activity as part of your day is no different to factoring in your meals for the day, once you build activity into your daily routine you’re more likely to stick to it and makes staying active during the colder months more achievable. This will also create conversation with your spouse, family or friends, and get them thinking about what they could do to remain active during this time. They may even like to join in with you with your exercise and that way you can keep each other accountable.
Do activities you enjoy doing
This is so individualised and so important as it is a great way to keep you moving during winter. Whether it be dancing to music, swimming, cycling or completing your favourite house chores, remain active while doing the activities you enjoy is a must. There is also some insightful emerging evidence for chair yoga for the demographic where movement is reduced that still elicits the health benefits exercise has to offer. Chair yoga allows you to make gradual improvements to your flexibility, strength and balance, while is not weather affected and only requires a chair.
Plan your week
At the beginning of the week when you plan out your meals, social catchups, appointments, work commitments etc. Also put in when you are going to complete the activities that you enjoy doing, this will keep you accountable during these colder months. I find this also beneficial by looking at the weather forecast for the week, to help you time any outdoor activities you want to do, to avoid missing the cold and wet weather. As it can be sometimes easier to forget about exercising during the week or finding excuses because of the weather.
Finally celebrate your achievements and recognise how you remained active during this time with family or friends. You might even want to treat yourself by buying new shoes, fitness watch or exercise equipment to increase your motivation to remain active in the future.
See a professional
If you have a plan about the exercise you could be doing or not sure where to start, consult with your local healthcare professional. If you need assistance for a personalised program you can also reach out to us at Essendon Physio Group to find out the best way to commence exercising during these colder months.