Exercising In Winter: Keep Active Outdoors & Indoors

Are you experiencing a dip in your energy levels or feeling more tired than usual? Well if so, you are not alone. As the winter weather descends upon us, we may experience physical changes. This is because the brain produces more melatonin which makes us feel sleepy. Furthermore, increased exposure to darkness can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm. 

The circadian biological clock is controlled by a part of the brain that responds to light and dark signals. And in the winter months, this rhythm becomes more predominant to our senses, which can make some feel tired. In fact, it can also affect our sleep cycles, eating habits and body temperatures. 

One of the best ways to combat this tiredness is to maintain your activity levels and stay active. 

 

Staying active throughout winter

Yes, we know! It is so much harder to get out of the bed or leave the comfy sofa to go exercise in winter. We have a tendency to want to hibernate in the cold but if you can maintain your level of fitness through these months, it will help boost your energy when you need it most. Exercise can even protect against seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is estimated to affect 1 in 15 people in Ireland. 

If you enjoy exercising outdoors and want to continue it into winter, keep doing it when you can. You can even burn more calories, as research has shown a peptide called sarcolipin is activated when our bodies exercise in cold temperatures, which helps us burn more fat. Whether it’s running, walking, hiking or cycling it’s important to prepare for exercising outdoors correctly. 

Just make sure you: 

  • Warm-up correctly to avoid the risk of injury. A dynamic warm-up will help increase blood flow and temperature in the muscles. 
  • Layer up with a thin base made of synthetic fabric, a middle layer made of fleece and an outer layer that is wind and waterproof. Remove the layers as you heat up to avoid overheating and dehydration. 
  • Protect your extremities with a hat and gloves, protect your skin with SPF and your eyes with sunglasses. The sun can be more intense in winter which can put you at risk of UVB damage so limit exposure to the winter elements. 
  • And stay hydrated!! Always pre-hydrate before you exercise outdoors. 

 

Man hiking outdoors looks at the sunset in the distance

Indoor Workouts 

And when the weather isn’t suitable to exercise outdoors or you just want to switch up your routine, there is an abundance of online or virtual indoor workouts you can choose from. From relaxing yoga to high energy zumba, there is something for everyone. Check out our Gym Plus YouTube channel for home workouts you can try:

 

Also, Gym Plus members can also avail of daily live workouts from the comfort of their home and for the month of November, we would like to welcome non-members to our live classes too! Simply email your nearest Gym Plus club and we’ll send you the Zoom link.

 

laura

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