It’s cold outside and getting darker for longer - finding the motivation to exercise in the winter months is hard! But don’t let the frost deter you; keep going through winter and you will feel the results when summer comes around. In this article I’m going to give some tips on: warming up, visibility, indoor sport & creating a routine.
Before any exercise it’s important to warm up, but when it’s cold it’s especially important, as when your muscles get cold, they tighten up resulting in more injuries. It doesn’t have to be long, just try walking for 10 minutes and stretch the areas that are feeling tight. Have a look on the NHS website for some good stretches.
As foolish as it sounds, looking the part makes a difference. If you feel prepared and confident then taking on exercise can feel a lot more appealing. If you are running in areas with low or no street lighting then invest in a high visibility, light weight jacket and, if you struggle with the cold, have a look at some breathable gloves. You don’t have to spend big bucks but it will make you feel safe and confident.
Next time you think it really is too cold to exercise, don’t give up! There are plenty of sports that are inside and well worth having a look at - squash, swimming, yoga, martial arts and basketball are just a few. It usually doesn’t cost the earth to join and they tend to have a free trial session. It’s also a great way to meet new people and get out of the house in those winter months.
Sometimes the last thing you want to do when there’s an icy wind and it’s still dark outside is put on the layers, head out and run a few miles. There are a lot of exercises you can do at home and make them a part of your daily routine. The good thing about this is that you can adapt a routine that suits you and it’s in the warm and comfort of your own home.
We have come up with a 10 minute work-out that focuses on each part of the body, that is easily adaptable and easy to fit into a busy day. If you would like to make it more challenging, lengthen the timings and amount of rotations/repetitions and likewise, if you find it a bit hard, shorten the timings and amount of rotations/repetitions.
Tip: Set an alarm or stop watch for each exercise that requires timing.
Step your right leg back and swing your arms forward and repeat with the opposite leg in a fluid movement. If you would like to be more challenged, try switching legs by jumping.
Lay out a line (can be a skipping rope or dish cloth- anything really!) and step or hop either side of the line.
Lie on your side and prop yourself up with you arm, so your forearm is perpendicular to your chest under your shoulder. Bend your bottom leg and lift your leg up and down slowly, not letting it touch the floor. Repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder width apart. Lift your arms out to the sides and start rotating your arms in small circles forward. Do as many as you can and then reverse the direction.