How to stay active in the winter – 10 workout tips from experts

Jasmine Harman DANCES during exercise class

Exercise is one of the best ways to stay physically and mentally fit, with many finding it beneficial in terms of stress relief and weight loss. In the winter, the days draw in a lot earlier, meaning many may not want to head outside and exercise. However according to the expert, the cold weather should not stop Brits exercising. 

Lucy Day, Head of Gyms at David Lloyd Clubs explained: “Now that we’re well into the winter months we don’t have the joys of working out in the sunshine and warm weather, but this shouldn’t be a reason to stop physical activity.

“The amount of exercise we do impacts our physical, social and mental health so it’s important to keep it up even when the thought of it is a tough one.”

The expert recommends creating a routine and sticking to it during the colder months.

Lucy said: “Start or end your day on a high by framing a routine to create a new normal for you. Having something to set your mind on has a positive impact on your mental health, especially during the winter period.

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“Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which helps with mental wellbeing by elevating your mood, in addition to being a natural painkiller.

“Exercise also slows down the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

“Moderate exercise boosts immunity – your increase in blood flow causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC).

“WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before.”

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The expert added that running is one of the best forms of exercise.

Lucy continued: “Running is one of the most straightforward and easily accessible ways to get the benefits of exercise.

“Not only does it help improve cardiovascular health, but it also burns calories, builds strength, and can be made into a sociable activity.”

According to Healthline, an average person burns 11 calories per minute while running and it can be fantastic if weight loss is your goal.

The expert added: “I created the #DLrunclub during lockdown number one so that like-minded people have a platform to share their walking, jogging and running experiences.

“Anyone can join the open Facebook group and we even have some great experts on hand including a physiotherapist ready to answer any questions surrounding injury concerns.

“Online networks and virtual groups are a fantastic way to stay connected; I have found that bringing that sociable element into exercise is super motivational especially now that it’s dark.”

With the nights drawing in earlier, many may be put off with the thought of going for a run in the dark.

However Lucy shared her top 10 tips to follow for those wanting to continue exercising in winter.

She said: “Although running in the dark may seem a little daunting, don’t let it be a reason for you not to head out. Here are some friendly tips to follow for running in the dark.”

Lucy recommends taking your phone when heading out at night as well as wearing reflective or fluorescent clothing so that you are easily spotted.

The expert also encourages people to wear a head torch or body lights.

As well as this, Lucy said: “Run in well lit places on flat terrain – try to avoid trails and bumpy paths. Don’t listen to loud music so you are able to focus on your surroundings.”

Letting someone know your running route and how long you will be running for is also a great way to try stay safe according to Lucy.

She suggested: “Use a tracking app or share your location with a member of your household.”

Running against the traffic so ongoing vehicles can see you and you can see what is coming should also help runners stay safe with the dark.

The expert continued: “For personal safety reasons vary your routes and timings and trust your instincts – if you feel like something isn’t safe don’t run there.”

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