Exercising in winter

Its 4:45 am, 4°C and pitch dark outside.  Not the most motivating circumstances for your 5 km jog around the block before work starts.  Then after long hours at your work desk, the winter nip sets in at about 6 pm, just before the sun goes down.  Winter months can derail your exercise programme, which in turn could lead to the dreaded winter weight gain.  

The benefits of regular physical activity are well recognized among healthcare professionals around the world.  But maintaining your physical activity levels through winter can be difficult. What is important to remember about exercise is that every small bit counts.  Even if you do not have a spare hour in you day to do a solid hour-long work out, any small bursts of physical activity you do throughout the day add up to a healthier version of you.

Here are some tips for increasing your physical activities levels each day:

• Have a big stretch as you get out of bed

• Follow this with 5 jumping jacks and 30 seconds of jogging on the spot

• Instead of sending an email to a colleague in your office park, go for a walk and chat to them face to face

• Hold walking or standing meetings instead of always being seated in a meeting room

• Use your lunch break to go for a quick walk.  Even 20 minutes of fresh air will add to your daily exercise quota, and you will feel refreshed and ready to work when you get back

• Make a quick trip to the water cooler, printer or a colleagues desk every hour

• Wear a pedometer to track how many steps you have done each day.  This is extremely motivating and will encourage you to use the stairs instead of the lift

• At home in the evenings, use TV ad breaks to exercise.  Jogging on the spot for as long as the adverts are showing will make a huge contribution to your physical activity levels

• Get involved in games with your kids – it can burn quite a lot of energy following your little ones around for hide-and-seek, last-touch or garden cricket

• Do 30 sit ups each evening before you jump into bed

• Remember that the weekends are also a very good time for exercising!  While you spend more time relaxing and distressing outdoors, you might notice your levels of physical activity going up without you even realizing it.  

• Use every sunny day in the winter to get out there and enjoy the break in the weather!

You might also want to read this article on outdoor fun for the family. 

Did you know?
Pick n Pay is committed to promoting health and wellbeing among South Africans, and employs a Registered Dietitian to provide free nutrition-related advice to the public.  Contact Leanne Kiezer via the Pick n Pay Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or healthhotline@pnp.co.za to start your nutrition conversation.

You can also visit www.adsa.org.za to find a dietitian in your area who is registered with the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA).