When it’s cold, your body will take longer to heat up. Without a decent warm-up, you could be physically and psychologically less ready to exercise. Take a minimum of 15 minutes to get into your workout. Wear layers you can easily peel off – invest in a long-sleeve top that has thumb loops, so it covers your hands as well as arms, and can be tied around your waist when you get warm. Gradually increase the intensity until you’re raring to go.
It might be cold outside, but there are a number of benefits to exercising outdoors during winter. Lots of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder and many more of us can feel down because of the lack of light and warmth. Winter sun can still brighten up your day though. Crisp, cold but bright, sunny mornings should be a signal for you to get outside in the fresh air: go for long walks, run or try our circuit of exercises in the park. You’ll also get a much-needed boost of vitamin D.
Boring gym programs can lead to laziness. Set a target of 90 minutes of cardio and 60 minutes of strength training each week. You can build up to this over several weeks and divide it up however you like – the more varied, the better. Add up your total strength and total cardio minutes by keeping notes on each workout in your diary.
The following circuit can be done in the gym, at home or in the park. Keep your posture upright and connect to your core (tummy in, shoulders down) at all times.
a) Warm up for 15 minutes by walking, jogging, marching or squatting on the spot.
b) Step up and down on a step or bench 30-40cm high for two minutes, or skip.
c) Lunge backwards for two minutes: step back with one foot, lunge down, come back to the start: repeat on the other leg.
d) Do press-ups against a wall or on a bench for one minute.
e) Hold a plank position: rest on your elbows and knees (or feet) and hold your body straight for one minute. Repeat steps b) to e) two to four times.
f) Cool down: walk around and stretch out legs, back and chest muscles.