As the temperature drops it’s tempting to cosy up indoors and hibernate until spring arrives. However, maintaining a regular exercise routine during the colder months is still important in promoting heart health and overall well-being. While you might need a little extra motivation, physical activity in winter comes with numerous benefits that can significantly improve cardiovascular health. Here are our tips for prioritising your heart health and staying active in the chilly season.
Exercise should never feel uncomfortable, painful or produce unusual or severe symptoms of angina. If it does, cool down, stop, and see your doctor before continuing exercise.
Why exercise in winter?
The benefits of regular exercise are no secret. Regular exercise enhances cardiovascular function, strengthens the heart muscle and improves blood circulation. It also helps support weight management, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Exercise is also a powerful mood booster and those post-workout endorphins can help combat the winter blues.
Tips for Exercising in Winter
Layer up. Dressing appropriately is essential when exercising in colder temperatures. Layers are your best bet here as they trap your body heat and are easy to add and remove as needed. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, add an insulating middle layer, and finish with a wind-resistant and waterproof outer layer. Don’t forget to wear a hat and gloves on those particularly chilly days!
Warm-up and cool down: Begin your exercise routine with a proper warm-up to increase blood flow and prepare your muscles for activity. Incorporate dynamic stretching and light aerobic exercises. After exercising, cool down gradually to help your heart rate return to normal. Perform static stretches to promote flexibility and prevent muscle soreness.
Embrace the outdoors. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for walks or activities that can be too challenging in the heat. Catch up with friends or family while enjoying fresh air on a long walk.
Choose indoor activities. If you just can’t face the cold then there are plenty of indoor activities to consider. Join a gym, find a group class like aerobics or yoga, go swimming or do a workout from the comfort of your home. There are plenty of online videos or apps that provide motivation and guidance.
Stay safe. Winter conditions can be hazardous, so always take necessary precautions. Be aware of slippery surfaces and adjust your pace or route accordingly and remember to stay hydrated, as dehydration can still occur in colder weather.
For a gentle walking program to get you started, click here.
And always remember, if you have any health concerns or chronic conditions, consult with your healthcare professional before starting a winter exercise regimen.