Why staying active is a must in winter too!
Hibernation is not an answer even if it’s freezing cold outside. Winter often makes a lot of people reevaluate their fitness routines. I know this for certain as I see numbers decline and regulars make sporadic efforts at the gym. Needless to say, to be most effective, fitness needs to be consistent. Staying active in the winter boosts your immunity by keeping the lymphatic system active. It also prevents weight gain and the aches and pains that arise from sedentary behaviour.
If you are new to exercise, start with something as simple as walking. It’s an effective cardio workout and suits a range of fitness levels. Make sure you warm up first. Just a few simple stretches will do. Also in the first 5 to 10 minutes, adopt a slower pace. Dress to exercise and dress for the weather. Layering is great and if needed will allow you to peel off layers as your body heats up.
Cycling, trekking, hiking, cross country running are all great ways to keep in shape even as you get out in nature. It’s fun to do with friends, requires minimal equipment and amps up your fitness level.
AT THE GYM
Expand your exercise repertoire at the fitness centre. Find new classes you may want to try out or set new goals. Kick boxing, salsa dancing, working on the machines — now is the perfect time to challenge yourself.
Indoor workouts at home can be great fun too. TRX training, yoga practice or a favourite fitness DVD should get you sweating. Just know that housework does not substitute for exercise. It has to be a 30 minutes to an hour of organised exercise.
Restorative activities like yoga and tai chi can help build strength, increase flexibility and help you relax.
Don’t eat mindlessly, out of boredom or because you are cold. Eat a balanced nutritious diet and every time you are tempted to have a hot sweet cup of tea, hold the thought and head for a cup of warm green tea or simply warm water. Fruits and nuts make great snacks and there is an array of green leafy vegetables available in the markets.
Find a few minutes every day to silence your inner chatter. Fifteen minutes spent in complete stillness and silence will make a huge shift in your energy. Find a quiet corner in the house where you will not be disturbed, and use this time to just be.
Many people suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies and their immunity gets compromised during the winters. It helps to take supplements. Although I am not a huge fan of popping pills and instead advocate better nutrition through a balanced diet, I also understand that when necessary, you must tune into your body and do what is best for you.
The author is a certified professional fitness instructor, founder and master trainer at Rage Fitness and a fitness columnist who specialises in mixed martial arts.