Winter can feel like a long three months where we want to stay inside cuddled up on the couch with a fluffy blanket and a nice cup of tea, binge watching our favourite TV show. When we do have to step outside, the sun is often hiding. It's cold and this winter in Canberra seems to be either wet, windy, or a lovely, icy combination of both.
Exercise and keeping active in the winter months can bring a lot of benefits, if we are motivated enough to turn off that TV and step out from the blanket. So, here are a few tips and tricks to help give you the motivation you need to stay active this winter.
1. Vitamin D is outside
Vitamin D is often under-rated but has so many great benefits. The way the body gets it naturally is through time in the sun. Some hidden benefits we get from heading outside and soaking up that vitamin D include:
Absorbs calcium and phosphorus which is important for bone and teeth strength,
Reduced the likelihood of severe illnesses, which is especially good with all those nasties making its way through Canberra currently,
Regulates our mood and decreases the risk of depression.
2. Endorphins are at your fingertips
Released from your brain endorphins are a type of neurotransmitter which acts as messengers in your body which aid in reducing pain and stress. During exercise the body will release these endorphins, and this helps with:
Reducing the symptoms of depression and sadness,
Increasing endorphin levels have been shown to decrease the feeling and sensation of stress and anxiety,
Improves confidence and self-esteem
3. Injury prevention
When we don’t exercise or enjoy the outdoors in the winter months it conditions the body to be stationary. Our muscles become tight, reduce strength, endurance and power. Our tendons that connect muscle to bone are healthy when we have appropriate load going through them all year round.
Keeping active reduces overuse injury on return to summer activities,
Staying conditioned throughout winter reduces the likelihood of pain and discomfort that can occur from being deconditioned and sitting down for long periods,
Neural system stays mobile decreasing the chance of pain associated with reduced physical activity.
So give that friend a call and catch up over a walk in the sunshine or put that extra layer of clothes on to go for the run that you know will be good for the mind and body. Enjoy the bonuses you’ll discover when you brave the outside world and keep exercises through the cooler months!