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Don’t let winter blues cramp your exercise style

Winter is here - or at least the final days of autumn are doing a damn fine impression of it. It’s the time of cosy fires and layers of clothing which had been living in the back of the wardrobe for the previous 6 months. But while it’s tempting to shove the active wear back into the cupboard and stream TV for hours - something we’ve all done during these COVID-19 times - don’t use the cold as an excuse to hibernate.

Photo: Clunes Trekkers - Follow their walks on Facebook

Instead, here’s why exercising in winter could actually be better for you:

  • There is a growing body of evidence which suggests exercising in cold temperatures burns more calories - especially around the belly and upper thighs (I rest my case, your Honour);

  • Exercising warms you up and keeps your body warm for hours afterwards;

  • Your heart rate tends to be lower in the cold, meaning your heart doesn’t have to work as hard during exercise;

  • Your body can regulate its temperature better in the cold so you may also be able to run longer and further distances than you would in hot, humid temperatures;

  • There’s a lower risk of sun exposure (reaching I know);

  • Exercise boosts your immunity and even a few minutes a day can help prevent simple bacteria or viral infections which can cause cold and flu (ok, so that one is important!).

If that’s not enough to convince you to switch off Netflix and take to the great outdoors, let me just add that exercising in extreme temperatures has been shown to increase both physical and mental endurance. But the most important reason for exercising - winter or summer - is that exercising is not only good for you, but it makes you feel good as well. Let’s face it. We all need as much feeling good now as we can get.

So whether it is going for a walk with the dog, jogging your bins down to the end of the driveway, rounding up sheep on foot instead of the motorbike or undertaking a full fitness workout Insta-style, winter can actually mean better and more effective exercise.

So as the mercury continues to drop, ditch the temptation to remain glued to the couch and get outside!

AUTHOR: Natasha Poynton.

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