As Christmas fades and another year back at work begins, you might find yourself feeling somewhat stretched trying to fit your fitness regime in 2013.
There’s the inevitable financial hangover from Christmas for one; which has left many people wondering how theyâ€™ll ever afford the summer holiday they promised their family last year. Perhaps your boss is expecting big things of you as well this year, carrying on from the successes of 2012.
But aside these pressures, you’re also contending with the most obvious one that could hamper even the most modest of exercise programmes: the weather.
Winter weather: your biggest enemy?
Wind, rain, sleet and snow are just some of the obstacles you must overcome in winter. Bundle these in with the cold and it’s no wonder that people feel a little lethargic and trapped within their own home. Indeed, it’s possible that the comfort of home – and the sheer awfulness of the great outdoors – is what makes some people retire completely from their exercise regime late November into December, ready to start afresh in the new year.
However, those who let their exercise routine drop in the winter months not only risk letting their waistline balloon – or their muscle mass drop – but also increase their risk of contracting colds andÂ other common winter viruses.
It’s for this reason that you should try to keep up at least a minimum level of exercise during the winter months. Even if things aren’tÂ asÂ convenient or easy as in summer, there are plenty of ways to stay fit and healthy.
Your range of indoor activities could be anything from doing press ups and sit ups in your own home to joining a local gym. Below is a quick summary of some of the options you might like to consider.
- Gym or healthclubÂ – Gyms and healthclubs are fully-kitted out action stations – as you may already be aware. They don’t rest during the winter months, just as you shouldn’t. Gyms often carry a great range of both cardiovascular and muscle-training equipment so you don’t have to skimp on either just because it’s raining outside.
- Swimming pool – Swimming is a fantastic exercise activity because it helps work many of the muscles in the body – some of which are even missed while weight training. It’s inexpensive and can be done at most times during the week; just make sure you dry yourself properly however, else you risk getting cold on the way out!
- Leisure centre – There are a plethora of indoor sports that can be played inside leisure centres; many of which are games you’ll ordinarily have wanted to play outdoors, if given the chance. Such indoor sports include: football, tennis, hockey and badminton.
- Indoor workout – Home gym equipment can pay dividends if used enough – so much so you might not go back to the gym! Either invest in some, or just do exercises without equipment where and when possible.
If you do decide to brave the great outdoors, then make sure you warm up just as you would in the summer months.
Without warming up, you risk causing injury to your muscles. This might be even more likely in the winter months because of your body’s natural reaction to contract the muscles for you in colder weather. So just be mindful that your body is already working hard to regulate your temperature and keep you warm internally – even before you begin working out.
Don’t worry if you’re not sweating as much as you normally would in the summer. If you’re exercising in a cool environment – such as going for a brisk jog outdoors – then this is to be expected. As mentioned, your body is more concerned about retaining heat at this time of the year than cooling your body through sweating.
However, this doesn’t mean you should cut back on your fluid intake. Continue to drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel overly thirsty – this is also natural in cooler conditions.
You might consider taking high protein supplements alongside your exercise to maximise your workout and compensate for any essential nutrients you’re lacking in the winter months. Something with Vitamin D in is advisable, because you’re unlikely to synthesise as much yourself in the absence of sunlight during winter. Vitamin DÂ helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which in turn help build strong and healthy bones.