How to stay fit and healthy this winter

They’re also the months when your health and fitness can take a hit and when curling up on the couch can seem much more tempting that leaving home for a workout. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that you can maintain your ideal level of fitness and health over winter. Here are a few tips:

GET OUTSIDE

On particularly frosty days, it can be tough to face the journey from the car to the office, let alone any further. However, there’s no real reason to stop exercising outside if the weather isn’t too horrendous – it just takes a little more preparation.

There’s a common misconception that being outside while it’s cold will lead you to catch a cold. While cold weather may be a contributing factor to contracting an illness in some cases, there are range of other factors that people tend not to think of. For example, the likelihood of breathing the same air as someone with the flu when you’re both in the same room/bus/train with the windows closed – as they tend to be in winter. Additionally, immune function can be compromised by a shortage of vitamin D and melatonin, and a deficiency is more likely to occur in the winter months when there are less hours of sunlight.

Before you head outside, make sure you’re prepared with the right clothes. Invest in a good pair of lightweight gloves, a pair of leggings, a beanie or headband that covers the ears, and a waterproof jacket. Once you’re protected from the elements, revel in the opportunity to keep yourself warm by going for a brisk walk, jog or run.

HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

If you’re keen to maintain an outdoor exercise regimen during winter, it could be handy to have a backup option in the case of inclement weather or for when it’s just too cold – which is a very real possibility in Canberra.

Gyms are perfect for winter for a number of reasons, not least for providing a range of fitness opportunities in an environment that’s immune to changes in the weather. They’re super convenient for getting a workout in before or after work – why not try this winter workout?

If you’re not bothered with the gym, or don’t want to fork out for a membership when you might only use it intermittently, then don’t worry – there are plenty of other indoor exercise options.

Indoor pools are a great option for winter. They water tends to be well-heated, as are the buildings they’re in. They’re also a fairly inexpensive option, with most single admissions costing around $5. Classes at gyms also tend to be accessible on an ad hoc basis, and provide a range of cardio and strength options.

DRINK UP

Compared to the warmer months, lower temperatures may make us feel less thirsty – but that doesn’t mean we’re not dehydrated. Make sure you keep your water intake high, even if you don’t feel the need to. For a warmer, cosier alternative to plain water, try herbal tea. It’s not caffeinated so it won’t act as a diuretic, unlike other forms of hots drinks including coffee and caffeinated tea.

It could also be handy to reduce alcohol intake during winter. Various studies have shown that drinking alcohol suppresses immune function, which is the last thing you want in winter when your chances of catching the flu are heightened.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Getting enough sleep (that’s 6-8 hours for most adults) is important year-round, but can be especially important when you’re more prone to picking up an infection like the flu, and sleep is an important factor in immune function.

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