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Tips for staying active over winter

At Southport Doctors, we want to share some helpful tips on how to keep active this winter.

With winter here, it feels much more difficult to break away from the warm fireplace to try and fit in some exercise. Keeping active and fit, especially in the wintertime, has endless benefits which are possible to reap without having to run a marathon! Smaller amounts of physical activity and exercise can also make a massive difference to your health, particularly in the long run. With no shortage of means to introduce activity into your day, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily. Moderate exercise can be measured by your being slightly out of breath but still able to maintain a conversation. Below are some ways to remain physically active during the winter months.

1. Log your activity

Many people believe that they are far more physically active than what they really are – particularly those with more sedentary lifestyles involving desk-jobs and driving into work. A fitness tracker can help you monitor your precise levels of activity which will help you monitor just how much exercise you’ve done and what you need to do to stay on track.

2. Try to add incidental activity to your routine

Smaller actions build up to have a bigger effect so try to take the stairs, get off the bus a stop or two before yours or add some physical activity before or after work. The majority of people would benefit from being more active in their daily lives which makes an incidental activity a simple and easier way to improve your help without needing to alter your routine too dramatically.

3. Start slowly and then build up

If you are new to exercise, it is a good idea to slowly increase the amount of physical activity that you do. A small adjustment like adding a few extra minutes to your daily routine can make a difference in your health. As your fitness levels increase, you can add more and more time for your activity.

4. Schedule exercise for the week

For those who feel less active in the colder weather, why not schedule a time to exercise three times a week. To make it easier, plan ahead by booking a class or bringing your gym bag in with you. The more prepared you are, the fewer excuses you will have and the easier it will be to achieve your goals. You can even download a physical activity planner or share your exercise goals with those closest to you to help keep you accountable.

5. Try to make exercise a social activity

When trying to get into an exercise routine, it can sometimes feel like more of a chore than fun or social activity. Success will be far more attainable if exercise is enjoyable so why not involve people you enjoy spending time with? Go to the gym after work with colleagues. Start a walking club in the mornings. Train with friends who can help to keep you accountable but also make the experience more enjoyable.

6. Add variety to your routine

If you are new to physical activity, it is a good idea to try different exercise types so that you can figure out what suits you the most. It may not be easy to start out so don’t be discouraged because your body will soon adapt as the activity becomes easier with time. Consider a flexible class pass that will allow you to try out different workouts – from dance classes to yoga or boxing. To keep making progress in your exercise routine, try to add speed, distance or resistance every couple of weeks. Things, like adding bursts or jogging to your walk or sprinting to your jog, will increase your metabolic rate for the next 24 – 48 hours.

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