How to keep active during winter
While the weather may be harsher and the couch more inviting, the cold is not going to stop us achieving our health goals this winter! To keep your motivation high, it’s a good idea to get creative and stay open to new ways of being active. You never know, you might try something new and thank yourself later! Here are a few suggestions to shake off those winter shivers.
1. Indoor swimming
An indoor pool is a perfect way to avoid the cold and improve your aerobic fitness. Swimming is a great form of cardio and the low impact nature of aquatic exercise also reduces the risk of weight bearing and joint injuries. Pool activities are easily adaptable depending on your ability. Keep in mind that swimming laps aren't the only way to workout in a pool – look into aqua aerobics classes or a team sport like water polo. Playing tag with the kids and walking laps up and down the pool is great exercise, too.
2. Hot yoga
There’s one thing for sure: you won’t get cold doing hot yoga! Just like normal yoga, but done in a heated room, hot yoga calms your nervous system and gives you an extra boost of energy. While this activity improves flexibility and muscle tone, the warmth of the room also increases your heart rate and blood flow, which boosts circulation. Most importantly, hot yoga gives us the opportunity to stay active and practise mindfulness – something we all need more of in our busy lives.
Parkrun Australia is an organisation that holds free 5km runs open to any age or ability. The runs take place in parks around the world every week. Improving your cardiovascular fitness as well as your bone and muscle strength, running is a great way for you to warm yourself up and stay active this winter. Whether you’re a walker, runner or future Olympian, Parkrun is a great way to get outdoors for some fun, social activity the whole family can enjoy.
4. Winter hiking
Our Aussie winter is the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors without it becoming too stifling or unbearable, as it can in the height of summer. Being in a natural setting can boost your energy and lift your mood, strengthening your motivation to be active. Not to mention, it significantly strengthens your lower body and core. Hiking is easily adaptable depending on the intensity you want to achieve. Check out your local national parks for trails you can try.
5. Join a team sport
Team sports are a great way to stay motivated during the cooler months. Not only does your commitment to the team mean you’re less likely to skip the activity, but you’ll have fun while playing. If you’re tired of braving the cold, try competing in an indoor sport, like soccer, netball or basketball.
Adventurous activities to try:
There’s no reason winter activities should be boring. Instead, test your strength and ability by trying an extreme sport this winter. Need a few suggestions? Try these on for size!
1. Indoor rock climbing
Indoor rock climbing combines cardio and strength training while testing your problem-solving skills, which helps improve your mental strength. All you need to do is show up and get climbing!
2. Ocean swimming
If you’re interested in pushing yourself when it comes to swimming, an ocean swim will work your body the same way that lap swimming does, but it’s more challenging as you deal with the inconsistencies of the natural environment.
3. Trail running
Studies show outdoor running decreases anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Plus, you’ll be distracted from the fact you’re working so hard by focusing on your footfall. With the right clothing, trail running in winter can be a great way to be active in the beauty of your natural surroundings.
4. Mountain biking
Interested in an outdoor activity that strengthens your muscles and improves your balance, coordination and heart health? If you’re a confident bike rider, mountain biking might be for you. If you’re up for a challenge and ready to push yourself by trying something new, look into some local trails where you’re allowed to ride your mountain bike. Remember to start slowly and take advantage of all the protective gear needed to keep yourself safe!