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Baby, it’s cold outside! It’s getting colder and all we want to do is hibernate. But did you know that there are lots of reasons to keep up your exercise regime in Winter?
Let there be light! The first reason to keep exercising in Winter is to make sure you get enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – otherwise known as vitamin D. There are a limited number of foods which can supply us with vitamin D but the easiest and most convenient source is from exposure of bare skin to sunlight.
During Summer months, just a short exposure of 10-15 minutes is sufficient. But in the Winter months it can be much harder to ‘get your fill - especially if you stay huddled up inside.
So it’s even more more important to get outside and get moving. Vitamin D is important for strong bones, growth, absorption
of calcium and for keeping your immune system strong. Further research also indicates that it can even help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
We all live in lovely warm, cosy houses and spend the majority of the winter with the central heating on and windows firmly closed – a great environment for bugs and viruses.
Generally, the air outside is healthier than inside - so going for a walk or run outside gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs.
Research shows that regular exercise strengthens your immune system helping it to fight off bugs and bacteria which can cause viruses and infections. This becomes particularly significant in Winter when colds and flu are much more predominant.
When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body more quickly - helping them seek and destroy infections. But this boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular for long-term effects.
My husband and my Mum are both always cold and sit shivering under a blanket all day and night. I keep trying to tell them that it’s because they are sat down and that if they moved about more they would start to feel warm (but it falls on deaf ears every time!).
Save electricity and avoid an expanding Winter waistline by warming your body up naturally with exercise – even a walk can be enough to stop the chill!
The rise in your body temperature has a soothing, calming effect on your body, not unlike a long soak in a warm bath or lying in front of the heater. Remember when you were a child and you went to the seaside for the day – spent hours running in and out of the sea and then got dried off and changed into clean clothes – how tired did you feel on the way home?
When we think of winter we conjured up images of hot chocolate, warm soups, cheese and wine in front of a lovely crackling fire. No wonder we suffer with ‘winter weight gain’.
It can be harder to resist unhealthy temptation in the colder months and the only way to make up for that is to increase the amount of exercise we do. That glass of wine will cost you 30-minutes of walking. Just 2 cubes of cheese will be another 30-minutes. And the hot chocolate? A full hour of walking is what you need to work that off.
So, get up, get out and get on it – you’ll be glad you did.