Don’t let winter put your exercise routine on ice
Temperatures may be plummeting outside but that doesn’t stop regular gym goers from working out, according to new research. A study by Fitness First has found that, contrary to popular belief, colder weather actually encourages people to work out; only 6% of members polled said they were derailed from their usual routine during winter. The research found visits to Fitness First’s nationwide gyms were up 25% across October and November. For those that are less eager to exercise at this time of year, the message is clear; think about your health!
“Our trainers are always encouraging members to get into a fitness routine so it’s great to see that gym goers aren’t being dissuaded by the chilly weather during winter,” say Lee Matthews, head of fitness at Fitness First. “Christmas is an indulgent time of year so we would definitely recommend staying active in the lead up to party season. That way you’ll be on great form and will be able to enjoy the season guilt-free.”
Christmas is an indulgent time of year so we would definitely recommend staying active in the lead up to party season!
New year’s resolutions also play a big part in motivating people to maintain their fitness goals, the study found. Visit rates increased by over 30% in January (when compared to December) and continued to rise steadily in February, with members consistently visiting their local gym at least once or twice a week.
Regular exercise can also help to boost your immunity, says GP Andrew Ross. “A healthy lifestyle is the key to preventing illness over the cold winter months. In addition to sleeping well and eating healthily, exercise has immune system enhancing effects that can help to ward off illness.”
Exercising outdoors? Don’t forget to warm up- if you’re heading outdoors to keep fit, the warm-up components of your training are highly important as muscles are more rigid in colder weather. Icy temperatures can also make it harder to stretch and if warm-ups are inadequate this can lead to pulled muscles, strained hamstrings and other unwanted injuries.
Warm-ups are designed to protect against injury, raise heart and respiratory rates and improve performance by preparing your body for exercise. They also help to mobilise joints and muscles and raise the deep muscle temperature which improve the body’s efficiency.
Don’t forget to give some consideration to the choice of your exercise when training outdoors, as you will be at the mercy of the elements – which might include everything from puddles, slippery mud and wet leaves to snow and black ice. Each wrong move can put your joints in an unstable position and create excessive force through the knees. This could result in injuries ranging from minor muscle strains to ligament damage and even broken bones. Training smart is a great way to protect yourself, while ensuring you still have a good workout. For example, if you are a keen runner: be mindful of potentially hazardous surfaces and avoid sudden changes of pace and direction.
If the idea of staying active this month sounds unappealing, remind yourself that regular exercise is just as important at this time of year.