This is how exercise goes for most people: they swear they’ll start going to the gym in January as part of their New Year’s resolution, go three times, give up on it, start again six weeks before summer, keep it up during the warmer months and then quit as soon as one leaf turns gold. They then hibernate from fall onward and repeat the cycle.
Well, here’s some news for you: Winter is probably the most important time to delve into a little exercise.
Yes, that’s right. As much as your mind wants to kick back, relax and watch another episode of Stranger Things while your body enjoys an overpriced spiced pumpkin latte, exercising in the winter is more important than exercising at any other time of the year.
Of course, don’t just take my word for it (Donald Trump’s Twitter feed ruined that level of trust for everyone), which is why I have pulled together a few reasons why it is important.
Improve Your Immunity
‘Tis the season of catching colds, the flu, viruses and just about anything else you can imagine, which is why you need to keep your immune system in peak condition by exercising. Don’t worry, you don’t need to partake in anything too strenuous; a ten-minute workout in your living room can make a staggering difference to how you feel. To have the most irresistible effect, make sure you eat healthily too.
Eradicate The Excess
If summer is all about enjoying salads and eating your greens then winter is all about munching on comfort foods. It’s part of trying to get cozy as the temperature outside plummets. The problem is, most comfort foods are high in calories. Combine that with our couch potato attitude and it is easy to see why and how we pack on a few extra pounds at this time of the year. The best way to avoid this winter weight gain is to watch what you eat and maintain a healthy diet but, given irresistible temptation, your best hope is to maintain regular exercise.
Loosen Up A Little
Stepping out of bed in the mornings is a torture like no other when winter settles in. In fact, the tiles on your bedroom floor are now officially the coldest place on Earth. The reason I mention this is the cold weather makes your body tense up and seize, putting excess strain on your joints, ligaments and muscles. Exercise will prevent this. Once again, you don’t need to train for a Tough Mudder; something as simple as performing hip flexors will more than suffice. Just a quick stretch three times a day will help your body stay flexible and mobile throughout the winter months, and that is incredibly important to your overall health.
The winter blues are a well-known thing and what it attacks most is your motivation and positivity. Of course, it’s easy to see why. The days are grey, the nights are long and the evenings are seemingly eradicated from the Earth. The problem is, we can’t change the weather. But that doesn’t mean you can’t alter your mood, and the most effective way of doing this is by exercising. Why? Because when you exercise, your body releases a plethora of endorphins that make you feel great. After all, happiness is a state of mind.
No More Excuses
Part of the reason our exercise routine goes through so many ups and downs is that we make excuses and, in the winter, excuses pop up all over the place. You have plans with friends, the weather isn’t great, the days are too short, you’ve got a cold or the flu or the plague. Excuses are everywhere. The problem is, when you have made an excuse once, it becomes easier to continue and turns into a bad habit. That is why you should exercise in winter. If you can stay focused and determined when the temptation to pack it all in is so rife, then you will be more likely to keep it up throughout the year.
We’re not saying you have to give up all those little winter comforts that make this season such a delight. Oh no. You can still curl up in front of a crackling log fire with a mug of hot chocolate and binge watch your favorite Netflix series. You just need to create a little bit of time to stay active and not totally neglect your body. That’s all.