Although Australia doesn’t have the extreme cold of many other countries, it’s tempting to curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate on cold and windy days. On the other hand, it would be a shame to lose the benefits of all the hard work you’ve put in during those summer months of exercise.
Here are a few tips that will help you to exercise safely and effectively during the chilly days of winter.
As the days get shorter, it becomes more difficult and inconvenient to arrange daily outdoor jogs or walks after work. Instead of using that as an excuse, why not try some of these?
- Go to a shopping centre and walk up and down the stairs (not the escalators!)
- Exercise in water. Many heated swimming pools offer water aerobics and other exercise programs during winter.
- Go to the gym and work up a sweat.
- If you walk or cycle when it’s dark, wear hi-viz clothing and carry bright lights so motorists can see you.
It’s important to stretch and warm up carefully before exercise. When it’s cold, blood vessels constrict to decrease the heat lost through the skin and maintain a constant core temperature. This can increase blood pressure because there is a smaller area in the blood vessels for blood to squeeze through.
Wear layers of clothing. As you warm up, remove them gradually. Wear a layer of synthetic fabric (not cotton) next to your skin as this will help to move sweat away from your skin so you don’t get cold. When you’ve finished exercising, put layers back on to help maintain a constant body temperature.
Although you won’t sweat as much in colder weather, it’s important to regularly drink water throughout your exercise regime.
Imagine how much better you will feel when those summer months reappear and you’re already toned and ready for the beach!