Dr Sally Norton

 

When it’s grey and gloomy outside and the days are short, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get up and do exercise. Here’s some top tips to staying active over winter.

1. Brave the weather

It’s easy to be put off, but going outside is all in the preparation and attitude. Wrap up warmly, wear decent footwear and once you are out there, you might even enjoy it! Cold conditions give a boost to the conversion of white fat cells to brown, which burn energy to keep us warm. Outdoor exercise increases exposure to daylight and Vitamin D, helping to increase endorphins and improving both your mood and bone strength.

2. Exercise indoors

If the weather really is appalling, try an exercise DVD or repeatedly going up and down the stairs.

Gyms often have tempting trials or short term deals, and many council gyms are now high spec and reasonably priced. The price of exercising indoors is an investment in your long term health that’s worth paying.

3. Ditch the excuses

Modern life is busy, with work and family often taking priority. It’s easy to think you have too many other things on and that it is selfish to take time out. However, studies show we are more efficient at work if we make time for exercise, whilst the ‘head space’ helps with thinking and prioritising. Exercise makes you healthier and happier, improves concentration and increases energy levels.

4. Exercise with othersYoung Multi Ethnic People Exercising In Gym - Photo by Ambro, plate, kg, pounds, heavy, weight, power, shape, dumbbell, equipment, discs, pumping, weightlifting, push, ups, endurance, flexibility, gym, training, workout, strong, healthy, strength, body, muscular, athletics, friends, diversity, health, exercise,

It can be hard to get going on your own. Going for a walk with a partner, friend or family makes it more pleasant, and meeting up with someone helps make sure you stay committed. It’s a great way to make new acquaintances and catch up with old ones.

5. Set goals and monitor yourself

You are more likely to be successful in maintaining weight or losing a few pounds if you know what your goals are and you record what you do. You can do this manually, or use technology to help. Activity can be monitored by a wearable device to record how many steps you take, how much ground you cover and even how much sleep you have. Most health bodies recommend 10,000 steps a day. You might be surprised by how little or how much you do, and how much small things like using the stairs, a 10 minute walk at lunchtime or walking kids to school can make. You can also use apps to map your activity and distance covered in a walk or run. Looking at your progress can be really motivating.

Practical tips

  • Choose to do an activity that is realistic and that you enjoy. That way you can keep it up!
  • Wear appropriate clothing and stay well hydrated
  • Don’t exercise if you feel unwell or have a cold

About the author: Dr Sally Norton is a UK Leading Health Expert, NHS Weight Loss Surgeon and Founder of  www.vavistalife.com