Exercise well this winter, don’t stay shut away indoors watching films, over-eating and feeling shut in all day long – not for more than just a few festive days anyway. As the New Year approaches it is a perfect time to seize the opportunity to plan some winter exercise and start to look forward to a fitter shapelier 2016. Read on to discover the best antidotes to total hibernation this winter…
Enjoy Huge Health Benefits
Exercise offers an incredible range of benefits for the body, mind and soul:
It increases the lean muscle that eats up fat and glucose
It helps to shift unwanted fat
It increases your metabolism
It helps to reduce your waistline
It reduces your risk of getting diabetes and heart disease
It increases your feel-good serotonin levels in the brain
It can help with depression
It can reduce your stress levels
It can reduce your blood pressure
It makes your heart stronger
It reduces your cholesterol
It increases your circulation
It triggers the production of enzymes which remove bad LDL cholesterol
It increases the size of proteins to stop bad LDL clogging arteries
It makes bones and joints and stronger and more flexible, making us less likely to get arthritis and osteoporosis
It aids digestion
It improves our overall appearance.
Overcome Your Own Excuses
If you are the sort of person who will come up with lots of reasons why thy ‘can’t’ exercise in winter, then you are far from alone. But really, where there’s a will… Don’t dismiss exercise and an option because of the weather; be realistic. If you are cold to start off with, you won’t go out in the cold. Cold can immobilize, so make sure you are warm to start off with. You won’t venture out if you are already too chilly. Dress warmly and strip off layers, then simply carry them when warm. In the snow…walking or trudging is good as it is harder work and you do get puffed. Skiing and snow fights also make for great exercise when it turns very cold: let it snow!
Exercises to Burn Fat
If you haven’t exercised in a while and let’s face it many people haven’t then you need to go easy in your first few sessions. The type of exercises you need to do to effectively to get that fat burning, is exercise that gets you out of breath. The heavier you are the more weight you will lose initially. A good tip is to trick your body into thinking it is heavier. Carry weights in a back pack, it works a treat.
Walking is always a good exercise, whatever the time of year and you can build on your time. You can go all out and do an hour in one hit, or you can break it up and do 4 x 15 minute bursts. It all adds up. Eventually doing it all in one go can be better as you will be able to maintain an increased heart rate for a longer period and this helps strengthen your heart.
If you can walk 10,000 steps a day you will lose weight. Investing in a decent step tracker is a good idea. You will be surprised at the number of steps you do each day. Unless you are a nurse walking all day most people don’t generally get near 10,000 steps.
Weatherproof exercising. There are so many exercise DVDs available, it can be hard to choose, but as a rule, the simpler the exercises, the better. Don’t overestimate your abilities by going for something super-tough at first; it will put you off. You should start with something you can easily manage and work your way up to harder exercises
Put some music on and march on the spot for 20 minutes. You can mix it up with knee lifts, kicking legs forward and backward leg curls towards the buttocks. Do 10 of each and return to walking on the spot in-between. Try it, it really works; great for when it is tipping it down. Break it up in the beginning, it all adds up. Try to fit in 2 x 20 minute slots or 4 x 15 in the beginning and work up until you are doing an hour a day. Easy, and you can get the breathlessness that indicated fat-busting going. Doesn’t cost anything, except time.
Upper Body Exercises
As you get fitter you can bring upper body exercises into your walk routine. Start by raising your arms above your head as if doing weights. Got some food cans in the larder? Use these as weights, Rocky-style. It starts building that muscle you need. This really helps increase the heart rate.
Some people feel too embarrassed to walk or jog outside because of their weight. This is sad, but no excuse not to exercise. If this applies to you just walk around the house as much as possible: corridors, lounge, dining room and kitchen, up and down stairs as much as possible and try to cover several miles each day. This will lower your blood sugar levels and help you lose weight.
Don’t forget, you can make life even easier by buying a walking machine: you can position it in front of the TV if it makes you happier.
10 Top Home Exercise Tips
- Step up and down. Everyone has at least one step in their house. If you have stairs, try going up and down ten times. You will life your body weight and get puffed out.
- Squats. Find a table or bench top to steady yourself and do 5 squats.
- Washing line wind up. If you have a line with a winder, wind the washing line up and down a few times. A full line is even better when you get your strength up.
- BBQ Lift. If you have a large BBQ with a hinged lift open and close ten times. Try one-handed lifts.
- Cleaning windows. Great for upper arms and shoulder joints. Clean your windows once a week even if they are clean, or if you prefer try scrubbing the shower screens.
- Gardening has always been great exercise. Sweep your pathways, do some weeding and rake.
- Try stretching rubber resistance bands. These are clever, cheap exercising aids that physios use; but them in sports shops or online. They often come with a set of exercises that work key muscle groups.
- Swimming is fantastic and if you are lucky enough to have a pool at home, you will be in great stead. However, walking in water is also great resistance training for muscles. Plus you stay nice and cool and don’t put undue stress on joints.
- Bike riding is great fun and it really works the leg muscles. You can ride around your home town with relatively little fuss or outlay; if you don’t own a bike, second hand ones are not expensive.
- Stationary bikes are also excellent, as long as you do actually use it and don’t just let it sit there gathering dust. Set it up in front of a good movie and pedal yourself fitter.