The Importance of Fitness During Winter
Workouts and fitness mean different things for different people, however, health is undeniably the ultimate goal. Despite this many individuals forgo running, cycling, swimming and other active pastimes when the colder months arrive. Winter brings chilly temperatures and shorter days. The temptation to stay inside and enjoy something warm and inviting often overpowers the desire to get up, get out, and get going. However, winter months bring more than just changes in the weather, they also yield both physical and mental ailments. When it comes to maintaining a healthy and productive lifestyle, the weather can have a huge impact. Whether this impact is positive or negative is partially at the will of the individual. One factor that can have enormous positive repercussions is fitness and exercise. The benefits that exercise can provide are innumerable and impressive. The following are the top five reasons why maintaining fitness in the winter is imperative to ultimate health and wellness.
- Reducing Stress
- Combating Disease
- Better Sleep
- Energy Boost
- Improving Confidence
Philosopher Plato has been quoted saying, “Exercise would cure a guilty conscience”. This sentiment has been proven true through numerous academic and scientific studies. The release of feel-good endorphins in the brain caused by exercise is a proven recipe for stress relief and relaxation. Getting outside or going to a gym can provide helpful solace and reduce stressful environmental factors. According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Regular aerobic exercise will bring remarkable changes to your body, your metabolism, your heart, and your spirits. It has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. It's a common experience among endurance athletes and has been verified in clinical trials that have successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression”. Stress is sometimes unavoidable, however, with the help of exercise, it can be managed and even completely erased.
According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease kills one Australian every 12 minutes. This sobering statistic makes the importance of healthy and preventative behaviors all the more imperative. One major way to combat heart disease is exercise. During the winter months especially, the temptation to stay inside, lounge on the couch, and binge watch television with the added splurge of snacks is hard to resist. However, these actions can only increase the potential for heart problems. By getting up and exercising your heart will thank you. The Mayo Clinic highlights some of the benefits of exercise concerning heart wellness when it says,”Regular exercise can help improve your heart health. Recent studies have shown that interval training is often tolerated well in people with heart disease, and it can produce significant benefits.” The benefits don’t stop there however, exercising can also significantly reduce the risk of diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular exercise can help insulin more effectively lower your blood sugar level. Physical activity also can help you control your weight and boost your energy.” When it comes to preventing disease, exercise is an excellent and often underutilized tool of defense. When taking ones health seriously, exercise should never be overlooked, especially when considering health risks such as disease.
The National Sleep Foundation puts in simply, “A nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week, which is the national guideline, provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.” The new study concludes that, “People sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.” Everyone likes and needs sleep. When precious sleep is interrupted or of lesser quality, ones entire day can be derailed. Being well rested is the key to productivity, alertness, and ultimately success. One way to guarantee a good nights sleep is exercise. This simple activity is the solution to the restlessness that many of us feel when it is time to finally go to sleep. When your body has worked hard, your brain computes the need for rest. This correlation makes the motivation for working out that much sweeter.
“Any exercise or physical activity that gets the heart rate up and the blood flowing and releases endorphins is going to raise your energy level”, says Everyday Health. Energy is craved by many as shown through the innumerable amount of coffee and energy drinks that fuel Australia everyday. Instead of consuming sugary and calorie heavy energy beverages, try exercise instead. Your wallet and your waistband are guaranteed to benefit from your decision.
Last but certainly not least, exercise has the distinct ability to drastically improve ones confidence. Consistent exercise usually results in numerous physical improvements such as weight loss and clearer skin. However, exercise also has the potential to bring people together and inspire friendships. Gyms are a great place to meet people and often sharing workout tips or congratulating others on their progress and stamina helps form quick bonds. Improving a skill such as working out also helps to boost confidence as new abilities and strengths are realized. Personally, my self confidence has soared ever since I joined a gym and began to work out regularly. My body image has improved, I have made many new friends, and I have mastered the illusive skill of perfect push-up form. The benefits that exercise has added to my life are amazing. I find that my winter blues and annual cold are a thing of the past. Exercise has truly opened doors for me and I see it happen to my family and peers as well. Gaining the confidence to be the best that you can be is truly a gift that I owe to exercise.
In summary, the benefits of exercise are innumerable, especially during the cold winter months when often you need an extra boost. Look to exercise for health and wellness in your everyday life and get through this winter fitter than ever, we know you can do it!