Don’t be scared of the cold, it can speed up your metabolism; but you’ll need to be extra-disciplined to keep to your routine of work-outs, rest and dietary requirements.
It’s natural that in wintertime our desire to get out and do exercise takes a blow; the low temperatures certainly don’t help, do they? But believe it or not, the best time of year for getting in shape and losing weight is when it’s cold.
Work-outs at this time of year are more productive, basically because aerobic activity puts you in a state of hyperthermia quicker than when it’s warm, and consequently speeds up your metabolism. As the body needs more calories to keep warm, exercise burns more calories.
However, it’s also the case that low temperatures make us want to eat foods with more calories – this is instinctive, it’s a natural defence mechanism of your body. The best thing to do is to make the most of the time of year and really focus on having a balanced diet, whilst keeping up with your work-outs and getting enough good quality sleep.
A study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity magazine found that people who do at least 150 minutes of exercise a week sleep better, and remain more alert throughout the day, than those who do less, or worse, no exercise at all.
Exercise improves health and well-being, increasing productivity at work. It also has a big influence on your mood, thanks to the release of hormones like endorphins and serotonin. Winter is a time of year when people have a tendency to feel depressed, so that’s another reason why it’s important to keep doing physical activities, as these hormones are a natural way of preventing the onset of depression.
There are some studies that have shown that endorphins are released about 24 to 48 hours after doing exercise, so that’s why regular exercise will give you a constant sensation of well-being.
One more benefit is that physical activity strengthens your immune system, thus helping you avoid colds and flu.
Careful! Low temperatures increase the risk of injuries. Muscles take longer to warm up to the ideal temperature for doing exercise, so make sure you remember to do your warm-up and stretches, both before and after working out!
Whatever you do, don’t stay still! If you want to be in shape when summer finally arrives you’ll need to be disciplined with your winter exercise routine!