Healthier you

5 Steps to keeping active this winter

Staying fit and healthy is so important for your wellbeing – particularly in winter! Keeping active and fit has endless benefits when it comes to health and the good news is you don’t need to run a marathon to reap the benefits. Small amounts of physical activity and exercise can make a big difference to your health – especially in the long run.

There is no shortage of ways you can introduce activity into your day and as a general rule-of-thumb, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day. As a guide, you know you are exercising moderately when you are a little puffed, but can still carry on a conversation.

Tips to keep active in the colder months:

  1. Keep track of your activity

It’s easy to think you’re being more active than you actually are! This is especially true if you work in an office full-time and rely on a car or public transport to get to and from work. Try using a pedometer or fitness tracker to help you monitor activity levels. By keeping track of your activity, you’ll be clear on how much exercise you’ve done and what you need to do to stay on track.

  2. Build more incidental activity into your day

You’ve heard the saying ‘it’s the little things that count’ and this is certainly the case with physical activity. When it comes to being active, things like taking the stairs, getting off the bus a couple of stops early to walk or doing something physical before or after work pays dividends when it comes to your wellbeing and health. The fact is most of us could be more active in our everyday lives, and incidental activity is a great way of improving your health without drastically changing your routine.

  3. Plan to do exercise

Don’t let the colder weather be your excuse! Set yourself up for success and plan to exercise three times a week. Help yourself out by planning ahead when it comes to exercising – whether it’s booking a class in advance or taking your gym bag to work; the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. You can download this physical activity planner that is easy to use and follow. Also be sure to share your exercise goals with your partner, friends and family as this will help keep you accountable.

  4. Make exercise social

Exercising doesn’t need to be a chore; in fact it can be a fun and social activity. You’re more likely to succeed if you enjoy it, so why not get a couple of colleagues and train together before or after work. If you’re not a member of a gym or exercise studio, then why not start a walking or swimming club in the mornings? Getting some fresh air is a great way to start the day, plus you’ll feel like you’ve had some fun while doing it! Training with friends can also help keep you accountable and on track when it comes to fitness goals.

  5. Mix it up

If physical activity is new to your routine, it’s worth trying different types of exercise until you find what’s right for you. There are flexible class passes that will let you try lots of different workouts – like dance classes, boxing, or yoga – so you can figure out what you enjoy. Don’t be discouraged if it’s tough when you start out; remember your body will adapt to exercise quickly. Activity will become easier over time. To make progress, it’s worth adding speed, distance or resistance to your workout every few weeks. Interval training is another great way of achieving greater health and fitness results. By simply adding bursts of jogging to a walk, or sprints to a jog, you’ll increase your metabolic rate for the next 24 – 48 hours.