Now more than ever it is important to stay fit in winter – for your body and mind. However, Training through the cold South African winter months can sometimes be quite a challenge. With the icy temperatures and the shorter daylight hours, sticking to a routine is not always easy.
The benefits of regular winter workouts include a boost to your immune system to help fight off colds and flu, improved heart health because your heart has to work that much harder to keep the blood flowing when it is cold and improves your state of mind because nothing gets the endorphins flowing more than getting active – inside or outdoors.
Here are our 6 top tips to help you maximise your workouts and to stay fit in winter.
Also read 5 Gym Mistakes You Might Be Making
1. Bring it indoors
You may be used to rising with the sun to get your morning run in, but in winter it’s that much harder. So why not bring your exercise indoors and shake things up a bit. Walk a few laps at your local mall, take a fitness class online, join a community dance class, lift weights, work out to a video at home, or even just dance. Whatever you do, just make sure that you’re having fun and keeping it regular. As long as you’re moving and keeping your heart rate up, your fitness levels won’t drop.
2. Partner up
Nothing makes you more accountable than a pledge with a partner. Find a winter workout buddy, make a fitness plan and then hold each other accountable. You can even use the opportunity to completely leap out of your comfort zone and join a fun dance, yoga or pilates class. It’s always easier when you have a support buddy.
3. Soak up that Vitamin D
It’s tough to get enough vitamin D in your diet during the winter months, so when the sun is shining it’s time to make hay! Get outside as much as you can on sunny days – we are very lucky to have warm days during winter in our country so take advantage of them. You can also get extra Vitamin D in supplements or fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon, as well as cheese and egg yolks.
4. Get enough sleep
It may seem strange to be getting more sleep to stay fit, but without summer’s soaring temperatures to keep us up at night, winter’s the time we can really enjoy a better night’s sleep. Sleep allows muscle tissue time to recover between workouts and is also important to give you the energy to exercise.
5. Grab on to those goals
We are all working out for a reason. Whether it be to lose weight, build muscle, slay in that next marathon, or simply just to stay healthy, when you started working out you had a goal. It can be very easy to lose sight of that goal as temperatures drop and hot water bottle beckons. Remind yourself daily of your goals for exercise and staying in shape. By starting with goals in mind, you are more likely to succeed.
6. Fuel your body
It’s easy to think that fuelling up on sugary snacks and drinks will be the key to giving you the energy to keep you going, but your body won’t be getting what it needs – vitamins, nutrients and Fiber that will keep it performing at its best. So instead of getting stronger and faster, you’ll find it harder to recover after workouts and you may even become more susceptible to illnesses and injury. Luckily there is a wide range of superfoods to choose from that can supercharge your winter workouts, such as ginger, red peppers, cinnamon, and raw nuts to name just a few. If you can’t get these superfoods into your diet, get a supplement to help your body become a powerhouse that stays winter fit.
Get everything you need to heat up your winter workouts and to stay fit this winter here.