With winter fast approaching, it’s harder than ever to stay fit and healthy. The mainly cold, rainy and often windy weather conditions makes the preferred option of relaxation to basically curl up on the sofa and become a bit of a couch potato. This ‘time on the couch’ normally leads to weight-gain and your fitness levels that goes down the drain. Maintaining a workout routine in winter is not only important for your health, but also to banish the winter blues.

 

“When temperatures drop, the temptation to eat more and exercise less is always there, but here are some handy hints to stay fit when you’re braving the cold,” Fransoa Ebersohn, Brand and Communication Specialist at Zone Fitness Clubs explains.

 

Here are a few fitness tips that you should keep in mind during the coming winter season:

Buddy up

Similar to joining a club, agreeing to exercise with a friend gives you an incentive (other than to exercise) to do something active.

 

“Motivating yourself through these cold months can be tough, so think about buddying up with a friend. It will help change your perspective of working out to something a little more enjoyable and sociable,” says Ebersohn.

 

It’s also more tricky to cancel on a friend than to just decide not to go yourself.

 

Remind yourself why it’s important

In those moments when you have to climb out of a warm, cosy bed and head into the cold, it can be difficult to remember how great you will feel afterwards. Exercising on those dark cold days will actually help boost your body’s feel good endorphins to help blast away those winter blues. Exercising has been found to boost your body’s serotonin, norepinephrine and stress response to help induce a natural state of calm. That’s motivation enough.

 

Be kind to yourself and your body

“It’s much harder to stay motivated when you don’t take enough time to relax and recover, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish. When you get back from a fitness session, treat yourself to a nice mug of hot cocoa and a long hot bath with some salts to soothe tired and aching muscles. Also, it’s very important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep,” Ebersohn added.

 

The benefits of going to the gym early in the morning

Visit the gym early in the morning during the winter season. The colder it is, the quieter it is at the gym first thing in the morning. An early workout at the gym has a lot of health benefits. It can enhance your metabolism, it improves physical and mental energy and also helps you to develop strong self-discipline. Visiting a gym early in the morning also allows you to reach your fitness goals faster.

“Each gym lover should attempt to take an early morning workout routine because it has a lot of health benefits.” Ebersohn explained.

 

Make your workout routine more fun

When it comes to working out, you should think outside the box so it’s something you look forward to, rather than dread. Grab a few friends and go to a Coreburn, Zumba, Tone the Zone or yoga class. Alternatively, use your weekend to wrap up warmly and go for a long, energetic walk.

 

Respect your routine

 Treat your workout routine with the same respect as a doctor’s appointment. If you respect your exercise times and don’t let anything interfere, it will be easier for you to keep going and reach your gym goals. If you think you won’t have the discipline on your own, join a workout group! Workout groups are great since you can motivate each other and won’t want to let each other down by not showing up.

 

Drink plenty of fluids during winter

Hydration is just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. You should always remember to drink water before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty.

 

Make smart food choices during the winter

In general, aim to eat healthy food. Diets where you restrict calories can cause a spike in stress hormones like cortisol, which can actually cause weight gain. Go for fibre-rich whole grains, beans and pulses, as well as good fats. Making smart food choices is an important part of maintaining good health and it and can help you feel your best every day.

 

Be physically active most days of the week

Being physically active most days of the week can have long-term health benefits and regular activity can improve your quality of life. The benefits of regular physical activity can reduce the risk of a heart attack. It can also manage your weight better and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

Research shows that regular physical activity can promote psychological well-being and aid in reducing feelings of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. On a day that you’re feeling a bit tired, down, or stressed, consider taking a brisk walk – it can help you.

 

The time to become better, stronger and healthier is NOW. Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. Make fitness a habit at your nearest Zone Fitness Club.

 

For more information about Zone Fitness go to http://zonefitness.co.za/, or contact them at @ZoneFitnessSA (Facebook), @zonefitness_SA (Twitter) and zonefitness_sa (Instagram).

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