winter fitness

Tips to keep up the exercise in winter

Keeping healthy and active all year round is important to maintain your overall health, mood and general wellbeing. Physiotherapist Matt Churchill has some tips for exercising and keeping fit during the colder months.

We all know it can be difficult to get moving now the weather is getting cooler, however it is important to keep active to maintain your fitness, health and boost your immune system.

Below are some tips for exercising in winter.

Warm up and stretches:

Winter brings cooler conditions, which means that your muscles are more likely to get stiff and tight if they get cold, so ensuring that you warm up and stretch sufficiently is especially important in winter to prevent injuries.

Make sure you allow 10 minutes to warm up and cool down.

The best warm up is a dynamic, activity specific warm up using your major muscles and getting your heart rate up.

Cool down should generally involve light stretching and layering back up if it is cold.

Hydration:

You need to stay well hydrated when exercising in cold weather just as you do when exercising in warm weather.

Dehydration can still occur in the cold from sweating, breathing and the drying power of the winter wind, however you may not notice it as much in the cooler weather.

Ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your exercise.

Wear appropriate clothing:

Dress in layers to trap heat and prevent heat loss.

Add or remove layers of clothing as necessary according to exercise level/conditions.

Re-adding layers after exercise will help keep your warm and prevent you cooling down too quickly.

Osteoarthritis:

As we get older, general aches and pains tent to become more common, and the cooler weather can exacerbate joint problems such as arthritis.

Using heat packs to help warm up stiff and sore joints before and after exercise can help alleviate pain and aid recovery.

Light stretching, yoga, walking, cycling or swimming in heated pools are good low impact exercise options to keep you moving well.

Stay motivated:

We all know it can be hard not to hit the snooze button when it’s cold. But to keep motivated you could exercise with a friend, take your fury friend for a walk, do group exercise classes or opt for indoor activities such as going to the gym or swimming in a heated pool.

If the weather is unfavourable, there are plenty of ways to increase your incidental exercise at home without expensive gym equipment.

You could put on an exercise DVD at home, walk/run up and down a flight of stairs or utilise your own body weight doing exercises such as squats, lunges, sit to stands or pushups.

For specific exercise or health assessment, contact the Friendlies Physiotherapy Service on 4331 1888 to make an appointment with one of our allied health team.