Are you struggling to keep active in the cooler months?
We've got you covered.
According to the Department of Health, if Australian's were to briskly walk for 15 minutes five days a week, there would be an estimated 13 per cent reduction of diseases commonly associated with lack of physical activity such as coronary heart diseases and strokes, for the Aussie population.
In a bid to help you find the motivation to get off the couch and say goodbye to the winter slump, the Mudgee Guardian spoke to two of Stride Health Mudgee's Physiotherapists, Jocelyn Horton and Ashlee Rowe.
Continue reading to find the answers to common questions asked about excising in winter.
Is it better to exercise inside during the cooler months?
There is nothing more un-motivating than to hear your alarm go off early Monday morning (because you don't start diets or exercising unless it's Monday) and see that your window has turned white from the outside fog.
You begin to question 'Is it worth it?', 'Can I even exercise in weather like this?', and end up promising yourself you'll go tomorrow morning.
Jocelyn and Ashlee say it is safe to exercise in chilly weather, but agree that changing your workout to be indoor friendly for the day would not be such a bad idea.
"For most people, it is safe to exercise outside in winter and breathe in the cold air, however, if you are exercising in conditions less than 5 degrees Celsius, it can be more difficult for your mouth and nose to warm up the air before it enters your lungs," Horton and Rowe said.
"Also, exercising in winter when the weather is wet can increase your risk of getting a chill. These conditions make it harder for your core body temperature to stay at the right level. Consider taking your exercise indoors if wet weather persists."
There you have it folks, if the weather is wet and you don't feel like getting sick, stay indoors.
How important is maintaining a diet in winter?
The big bad D word.
There's a whole lot of temptation in the air when the weather turns cold to crave foods that warm your insides like sausage rolls, pies, hot cips, pizza, just to name a few, but the experts say this is what leads us to gain that cuddly winter weight.
"When you are cold you may find yourself searching for food and eating more than you normally would. This is because eating helps increase your body temperature as heat is released during digestion," Jocelyn and Ashlee said.
"It is important to be mindful of this as it is easy to overeat and gain weight during winter."
In sum, put that damn sausage roll down and step away.
What are common injuries that arise in winter?
It is no surprise our joints dread the winter weather just as much as our minds do with muscles strains a frequent injury.
According to the Medical Journal of Australia, our also nation has the highest number of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee reconstructions in the world that are commonly associated with sports that require sudden changes of direction such as netball.
To limit your chances of getting injured, Jocelyn and Ashlee recommend the following:
- Make sure to warm up before working out in the cold weather
- Avoid starting with static stretches
- Do more dynamic forms of stretching that loosens up joints, gets the blood flowing and warms up muscles
- Consider incorporating sport specific programs into training such as Netball Australia's knee program, Rugby NSW Preparation to Perform program, and FIFA 11+ program
What are some common misconceptions about exercising in winter?
I'm sure most of us would like to believe these misconceptions such as we shouldn't exercise in the cold, but luckily, Jocelyn and Ashlee are here to prove us to be just looking for excuses.
"It is safe for most people to exercise outside during winter, although people with a heart or lung condition should check with their GP or Physiotherapist before starting exercise," they said.
"Another is that could air can make us sick."
"We become sick by coming in contact with a virus, for example, touching a bench that a person with a virus touched before us. It is good to get outside in winter and breathe fresh air as we are often stuck inside with the heater on."
What are some surprising facts about exercising in winter?
It might be a surprise in itself that there are some beneficial things about embracing the cold, but I'm sure you would never have thought of these things.
- Exercising in the cold weather may improve your endurance
- In cold temperatures your heart doesn't work as hard
- You sweat less
- Use less energy
- Can exercise more efficiently
- You lose significant amounts of water when exhaling
What are some exercises to keep fit in winter?
There are endless exercises to choose from that will get that heart of yours pumping, so have a look at some options below and choose one (or two or three) that doesn't make you want to cringe.
- Playing sport
- Exercising in a heated indoor pool
- Yoga or Pilates classes
"Here at Stride Health we offer fitness, Pilates and hydrotherapy pool exercise classes. We also have a 24-hour gym at our clinic in Gulgong," Jocelyn and Ashlee said.
How do I to keep warm when exercising in winter?
To finish up here, we've gone with tips to make you feel just that little bit better about exercising in winter.
- Wear layers of clothing that can be taken off as you warm up
- Wear clothing with sweat wicking properties to keep dry
- Do a warm up of 5 to 10 minutes before exercising
- Wear a beanie and gloves