While the arrival of winter usually brings with it a ‘snuggling’ and ‘hibernation’ mindset, it’s important that we keep active – for both our mental and physical health. Well-known Ballito physiotherapist Lianca Dookran shares some tips on staying motivated to move this winter.
BRAVE THE ELEMENTS
Sometimes it is challenging to find the energy and motivation during the cold and dark winter days, so remember that you are keeping active for your health and use it as an opportunity to develop your mental toughness. Physical activity has great health benefits, such as maintaining a healthy weight and decreasing risks against diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and heart disease.
WRAP UP RIGHT
Summer gear may not be appropriate for the winter months, so try investing in warm, but light layers that won’t weigh you down. Starting your physical activity when warm and toasty can help loosen up muscles and allow for a more rewarding session. Try doing a few stretches to raise your body temperature and focus on taking long, deep breaths to boost blood flow and oxygen.
A WORKOUT A DAY KEEPS THE FLU AWAY
Regular exercise boosts the immune system by increasing fighter cells in the body. When you exercise, blood is pumped throughout the body which allows circulation of these fighter cells to seek and destroy infections. This boost only lasts a few hours, so the key point is to exercise regularly to maintain a defending immune system.
Motivating yourself through the dark days can be rough, so exercising with a friend can be an incentive to get active. It changes the perspective of exercise to something more enjoyable and sociable. Try connecting with friends on social networks like Strava and commend one another for completed challenges to keep motivated. Time flies when you enjoy the activity and you’ll be logging new PBs before you know it!
THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN
There are a limited number of foods that provide the body with vitamin D, so the easiest source is exposure of the bare skin to sunlight. Vitamin D is important for bone health and maintaining a healthy gut – and it reduces the risk of infections – so be sure to get your daily dose.