The Best Ways to Exercise this Autumn and Winter

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Exercise is essential for our physical and mental health, but when the darker nights arrive, and temperatures drop, it can be harder to stay motivated to work out.  

So, we’ve got some tips and ideas to help you stay active and keep your fitness goals on track during the colder seasons.  


Ways to stay active outdoors this autumn & winter

Walking – Autumn is the perfect time to get out amongst nature and enjoy the beautiful hues of orange and red. Walking is a fantastic way to get fit, strengthen leg muscles, and boost mental health. Go on a weekend hike or incorporate a brisk walk into your daily routine.

Cycling – Going for a bike ride is the ideal winter exercise for those with joint problems. It’s low impact yet incredibly beneficial for lung health, and it works almost every muscle in the body.

Running – If you’re looking to lose weight this winter and don’t mind going out to exercise in the cold, running is a great choice and fantastic for your cardiovascular system.

Seasonal activities –Getting in your autumn exercise doesn’t have to be boring; plenty of seasonal activities make it fun to stay active. For example, you could take your children apple picking or run your way around a local maze. Even raking the beautiful autumn leaves is a fantastic form of incidental movement.


Ways to stay active indoors this autumn & winter

Yoga – Celebrated for its stress-busting abilities, yoga is the perfect form of movement during one of the busiest seasons. Work up a sweat at a hot yoga class or relax and unwind with a restorative yoga session.

Join a gym – If working out in the cold isn’t for you, now is a great time to join a gym. Try strength training with weights, clock up the miles on a treadmill, or challenge your arm muscles on the rowing machine.

Dance – Moving your body to upbeat music is a fantastic way to burn calories this winter, keep fit, and have fun at the same time. Join a local class or follow along to an online video from the comfort of your own home.

Swim – Doing laps in your local pool is a fantastic low-impact winter workout, making it perfect for those with joint problems. Swimming also strengthens your cardiovascular system and works every single major muscle group.


Exercise safely this winter

  • Check the weather forecast before going out to ensure it’s safe to undertake your activity and remember to take appropriate clothing, footwear, and equipment with you.
  • To stay visible to pedestrians and traffic, wear reflective clothing, and if you’re cycling, check to make sure your lights work.
  • Stay warm with breathable layers, and take your waterproofs with you if it’s going to rain.
  • If you have joint pain, choose low-impact exercises, work out indoors when you can, and if you’re going outside, make sure you wrap up warm.


How to stay motivated to exercise during the colder months

Find an activity you love – it’s easier to stay on track with your autumn fitness goals if you actually enjoy the exercise you’re doing, so find something that works for you.

Choose a time that works for you - If you don’t like getting up in the dark during winter to exercise, switch your daily walk to a morning or lunchtime if possible.

Get into a routine – Decide which days you will work out and get all your clothing and footwear ready the day before so it’s ready for you. It’ll become a habit in no time.

Have a buddy – Joining a running club or going to the gym with a friend is a great way to help you stay accountable and motivated.


Staying healthy during autumn and winter

As well as exercising regularly, it’s also important to:

Eat nutrient-dense foods – Now is the perfect time to make nutritious soups and stews packed with veg and fibre. Keeping your diet healthy and varied can help your immune system fight those nasty winter bugs.

Take Vitamin D – Adults in the UK are recommended to take a daily vitamin D supplement from late September to help keep our bones, teeth, muscles, and immunity strong during winter.

Stay hydrated – Although you may not realise it, you can still become dehydrated during the colder months, so aim to drink approximately six to eight glasses of water or sugar-free fluids a day.

Get plenty of sleep – Try to get around seven to eight hours of sleep a night to help your body rest, replenish and feel refreshed the next day.

If you’re looking for more ways to stay healthy this winter, take a look at the top nutrition tips from our specialist dietician Nichola Ludlam-Raine.

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