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How you can stay fit and healthy this winter

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With winter being colder and darker, people can feel that their energy levels are a little lower, and it is tempting to stay snuggled up on the couch, but it is just as important in winter as at other times to get moving, so you need to push through that hibernating impulse – at least some of the time.

Getting motivated

The two most important ways to stay motivated in winter are to exercise with other people and do something you really enjoy. If you love dancing, find a great class.  If you enjoy swimming, find an indoor pool. Got a bike – join a local riding group. Enjoy both walking and talking? Join a local Heart Foundation Walking group.

Research shows that you are far more likely to stick with your exercise plans if you are doing it with other people. Whether you attend regular weekly gym classes or meet a friend at the same time each week for your exercise, the social element gives you another reason to go, it’s a great way to encourage each other and the regularity in the routine means it becomes part of your weekly schedule.

Have trouble with arthritis, particularly in winter? Exercise in warm water is fantastic for arthritis, even if you just go for a walk up and down the pool. In the case of any conditions that have the potential to worsen in cold air, such as emphysema and asthma the suggestion would be exercising in a controlled environment like a gym. With starting any kind of exercise routine the cautionary note would be to talk to your doctor or an Exercise Physiologist before you begin, about what would be appropriate for you.

Exercising outdoors can be a great idea in winter for those that can manage it, providing you with some fresh air and the odd dose of sunshine -good old Vitamin D. If you are exercising outside, a good general rule for winter is to warm up for a bit longer and a bit more gently in terms of the build-up.

How much exercise should I do?

Ideally, we should all be doing some cardiovascular exercise and some weight-bearing exercise throughout the week. For some people, that might mean doing a heart-pumping exercise class and lifting a few weights at the gym. The ‘Strength for Life’ program is one specifically catering for the Over 50’s and the good news is there are lots of venues across the City of Salisbury. Other people might like to go for a bike ride and then do a Tai Chi, Yoga or Pilates class.

If getting out of the house is tricky, you could consider renting a piece of gym equipment such as a treadmill or exercise bike. YouTube has plenty of free yoga classes online and doing weights can be as straightforward as a few exercises with a can in each hand.

The best thing to aim for is doing something every day. Even just going for a walk after dinner around the block or walking to the shops instead of driving. Once people get moving it’s not as bad as they thought it was going to be and they usually really enjoy it.

More winter health tips

As the temperature starts to drop, there is a greater tendency to stay indoors where it is warm, be less active and eat more comfort food. Winter also brings increased risk of illness, so here are our top tips for keeping healthy this winter can be found at