The Importance of Being Active This Winter Period
7th November 2023
As the seasons change, the temperature drops and it gets darker outside, it is natural for us to spend more time indoors and less time doing physical activity which can lead to unintended health consequences.
Completing regular physical activity has many health benefits both physically and mentally. Studies have shown maintaining or increasing physical activity throughout the autumn and winter months can counter some of the negative effects the changing seasons can have on energy levels and mood.
Why should we be physically active?
Being physically active has a wide range of known health benefits including weight reduction and maintenance, reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke, reducing the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, and it has even been shown to improve immune function which helps to keep coughs and colds at bay.
As well as the physical benefits, one of the most important reasons to remain physically active is the positive effects it can have on mental wellbeing. Physical activity has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety as well as the effects associated with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which occurs during autumn and winter. It can also have positive effects on fatigue, self-esteem, and symptoms of stress.
Winter months often lead to foods that provide more comfort such as pies, Sunday roasts or feel-good foods that tend to be calorie dense. However, remaining active helps with mindful eating, ensuring the body is fuelled with foods that provide plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre which help to stay on top of calorie consumption.
Government guidelines state an individual should be completing at least 150 moderate-intensity minutes of exercise a week, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity minutes a week, or a combination of both.
You can follow the tips below to ease you back into exercise:
- Create a plan
Most people work better when there is a routine or activities have been planned. This is also important when it comes to physical activity. If something has been planned, it is more likely to be completed and there is also a better chance a habit will be formed.
Start by looking at the week ahead and finding time to aim for the guidelines above. If physical activity is new to you, start small so it’s manageable and you can build up. Just 22 minutes of daily activity has been shown to counter the negative effects associated with being sedentary during the day.
- Pick something you enjoy
It sounds simple but a lot of people will start something they don’t enjoy and will stop doing it four weeks later. If walking is something you enjoy, plan your walks. If you like exercise classes, add them to your plan. Don’t worry about running or joining HIIT classes if they don’t appeal to you - there are plenty of ways to remain physically active.
- Try exercising with others
Join an exercise group or exercise with a friend. Many people prefer to train with others as it helps with motivation and adherence. Again, make sure it’s something you enjoy and it’s at a time that fits into your schedule. There are plenty of exercise groups out there and if you’re unsure of where to start, get in touch with us and we can help point you in the right direction.
For further information on exercise classes in your area please contact One You Cheshire East on 0808 1643 202 or sign up here: https://oneyoucheshireeast.org/sign-up/