There are many benefits of keeping active during winter, which become all the more important once we reach older adulthood. But when it’s freezing outside and lockdown means you can’t get to the gym, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get up and moving.
Of course, keeping up your fitness routine at home has the obvious benefit of avoiding piling on the pounds during lockdown. But if you’re struggling to keep going, here’s a few other ways that prioritising fitness can improve your health and wellbeing during the colder season…
Keep your immune system in check
This winter, as well as protecting ourselves against the inevitable bout of cold and flu viruses, the threat of COVID 19 means that it’s never been more important to ensure our immune system is fighting fit. Keeping in good shape with regular exercise, is linked to stronger immunological fitness, which increases your body's chance of fighting off disease. When we engage in exercise, blood flow is increased around the body which mobilizes white blood cells, to increase our defence against harmful microbes.
Reduce joint pain
For those suffering from joint pain, the freezing temperatures and low barometric pressure of the winter months can increase discomfort around this time of year. Regular exercise promotes better joint function and mobility, and can help to alleviate winter aches and pains. Keeping active during winter also reduces the likelihood of weight gain, which could lead to increased pressure and stress on the joints.
Get outside to relieve fatigue
In response to reduced sun light hours during winter months, our brains produce more melatonin, leaving us feeling more fatigued. Spending more time indoors, also reduces our exposure to vitamin D which only adds to feelings of low energy and tiredness. To combat this, it’s important to get outdoors to boost our vitamin D levels which also helps to strengthen bones and improve the immune system. Fitting a brisk walk or a gentle jog into your fitness routine will help to increase your sunlight exposure and leave you feeling energised.
Boost your mood
Whether it’s the usual winter blues or the more serious SAD (seasonal affective disorder) putting a gloom over the colder months, getting regular exercise has been proven to reduce feelings of depression and boost your mood. Sweating it out for as little as 20 minutes, leads to the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, which trigger positive feelings and emotions.
Reduce risk of falls
With icy pavements and often snow on the ground, in winter we’re at a higher risk of slipping and falling when we’re out and about. For older adults, recovering from a nasty fall can be a lengthy process. Keeping up a regular exercise routine during the winter months is a great preventative measure. Exercise increases strength and flexibility, which also help improve balance and coordination to keep you steady on your feet.
As a Village Gym member, we’ve got loads to keep you active at home. Whether you’re looking to improve your strength and flexibility with a live yoga class or boost cardiovascular fitness with Zumba On Demand, you’ll find the perfect ‘at home’ workout on our easy to use app.
Download the app, get active and protect your health and wellbeing through the winter season.