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How To Keep Physically & Mentally Fit During Colder Months

Keep On Moving: Image By Julia Larson

You don’t have to feel overcast and bleak and worry about putting on extra weight in colder weather and cooler months of the year. If you like exercising outdoors—running, walking, cycling or doing other outdoor activities—and hibernation isn’t for you, then there are ways you can still get outdoors. But before you get started it’s also important for you to think about the practicalities of exercising at this time of the year so that you keep yourself safe and healthy.

Let’s look at several tips for exercising in the colder months now and how these apply to you.

Keep Fit Tip #1 Safety First

If you have the motivation to exercise outdoors during the colder months, then it’s essential that you think about how the weather can affect your health. You not only want to keep warm and dry, by wearing a hat and gloves, but with shorter daylight hours, it’s also important to think about your visibility. By wearing warm, water-proof high-viz clothing others can see you at any time of the day or night, and you’ll ensure that no matter how wet and cold it is you stay dry and warm.

It’s also essential that you wear adequate footwear. Your shoes should have excellent traction so you don’t slip when it’s raining, snowing or icy, and they should also be waterproof. If you don’t have waterproof shoes, then buy a waterproofing spray. This treatment is inexpensive and easy to use, and it stops moisture attacking your feet while you walk, jog or ride.

If you’re concerned about exercising outdoors when it’s still dark, then try to sneak in exercise during your lunch break, during daylight hours. This strategy also ensures that you get enough natural light to regulate your sleep, which enables you to function to the best of your ability.

Keep Fit Tip #2 COVID19 Considerations

For those of you who are concerned about COVID19 and other illnesses, such as colds or the flu, then make sure you wear a sport face mask when you’re out exercising. Sometimes wearing a scarf wrapped around your face let’s you keep warm and it also stops you from breathing in bacteria when you exercise in the colder months.

As COVID19 restrictions lift and life gets back to its usual rhythm, then you will need to start thinking about the practicalities of fitting exercise in around your social life. For example, if you’re back at the office and you’re going to the gym after work, then you have to ask yourself, “Do I really want to pack my outdoor fitness gear into my bag alongside my favorite Ronny Kobo dress?” Even packing your gym wear with your evening clothes can seem like it’s more hassle than it’s worth.

Keep Fit Tip #3 Going To The Gym

Not all days will be ideal to exercise outdoors as gales, blizzards, sleet and hail may make it impossible for you. So, it’s essential for you to have a plan B—going to the gym.

Now while gyms are back, many are not like they were before COVID19. So you still need to practice social distancing. In all likelihood, that’s the way it’s going to stay for sometime. When at the gym remember to be mindful of others, and to clean equipment before and after you use it. This approach ensures you keep yourself safe, and that you protect others.

The colder months are a prime time for respiratory conditions to strike. So, you need to be aware of any immune system weakest. You can boost your immune system by drinking juice and having foods that give you the vitamins and minerals your body needs to fight any illness.

Realistically, this means that popular gyms could get very busy over the colder months. You may find yourself needing to book well in advance to guarantee a place. This can be a challenge even if you have a fairly predictable schedule. SO if you can’t exercise outdoors or at the gym, then your next option is to exercise at home.

You’ve probably been exercising at home quite a bit already. You may, however, not have your home gym how you’d ideally like it to be due to all the shortages of exercise equipment. If so, then you might want to start investing in it now so as to be prepared for later on in the year.  

Keep Fit Tip#4 Be Mindful Of Your Mental Fitness

You probably know already that there’s a strong link between physical fitness and mental wellbeing. The connection works both ways. Exercising can boost your mental fitness, which can motivate you to keep exercising. On the other hand, if you’re feeling low, you may lose your enthusiasm for exercising, which can make you feel worse physically.

One of the biggest challenges during the colder months is that, mentally, it can seem like one long, cold, hard slog. What’s more, the effects of that slog can build up, slowly, over time. So, while you might feel okay, overtime okay can turn into ‘not so good’. Given this, it is essential to keep an eye on your mental wellbeing. If you feel it’s slipping, then look at ways to give yourself a ‘pick-me-up’.

Don’t let mental health signs of stress pass unnoticed. Otherwise, they’ll get a strong grip on you. Instead, take your mental fitness every bit as seriously as your physical fitness.

Even if you’re not in the habit of fitness tracking or journaling, consider giving it a try over this fall and winter. You can track whatever suits you. Some baseline suggestions, however, are mood, exercise, time outdoors (in daylight), hydration, caffeine intake, sugar intake, and sleep. As you monitor these over time, you may begin to notice patterns and become aware of your habits.

Keep Fit Tip #5 Sleep Patterns

There are several reasons why sleep can be a challenge in the colder months. Two of the main ones are light pollution and noise. Artificial light can be a problem if you don’t get enough sunlight, as this can disrupt your sleep. Plus, constantly exposing yourself to changing and flickering light color from on to off can cause your circadian rhythm or body clock to reset itself.

Noise pollution, on the other hand, is a side effect of loud noises—music, dogs barking, people talking, machinery, computers—which are typically heard in confined spaces, such as indoors. You may, therefore, want to look at updating your home to make sure you lessen the noise of certain spaces, so that it does not affect your ability to sleep.

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