Do the winter blues have you feeling unmotivated? Winter is here, and when it's cold outside it can be tough to stay motivated and committed to your health and fitness goals. We tend to want to 'snuggle up', meaning we eat more and do less – a kind of human hibernation!
Regular physical activity during the colder winter months helps to create the body we feel more confident in during the warmer months. It also regulates our fresh air intake when we don't look forward to leaving the house and keeps heavy food cravings at bay.
The pool is the best place to work out during winter. It offers all the same health benefits of a water fitness workout in summer as well of some additional ones you may not be aware of. The pool is outdoors, giving all the health benefits of fresh air and sunlight with the added bonus of being heated to 29 degrees giving all the therapeutic benefits of heated water.
Here are our top 6 tips to help you stay motivated this winter:
1. THE SUNSHINE VITAMINS HELP KEEP YOU HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND STRONG.
There's a good reason it's called the sunshine vitamin. There are a very limited number of foods that provide your body with enough vitamin D to gain the required amount through your diet. The most accessible source is from direct exposure of skin to sunlight. The sunshine develops solid bones and muscles, looking after your skin and keeping your immune system strong. It can also give a welcome boost to positivity and help you feel happier and positive!
2. GET YOUR BLOOD FLOWING TO KEEP WARM
Save on electricity, heat your body up naturally with a water cycling class. The increase in your body temperature during a class has a soothing calm effect on your body, and the warm water helps your circulatory system expand.
3. STRETCH, RELAX YOUR BODY AND HELP AVOID INJURY
The cold can worsen mobility and makes your joints stiffer. Heated pools are great for relaxing muscles and joints. A water fitness class keeps the body moving and agile. The stretch and flexibility gained from the water in a water cycling, kickboxing, or circuit class helps prevent injury resulting from an unwarm body. For people living with arthritis, warm water is proven to reduce pain in your joints and back.
3. MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH DURING FLU/COVID SEASON
Regular exercise strengthens your immune system to help fight off the flu and other nasties. When you exercise and get your blood pumping, immune cells circulate through your body quicker, helping them to destroy and fight infections. However, this immune boost only lasts for a few hours, so exercise needs to be regular and consistent for long-term benefits.
4. BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
A daily fitness class helps to improve your mental wellbeing. It releases feel-good, de-stress brain chemicals giving you a break from everyday life and helping to ease depression. After a workout, the brain releases the "feel-good" chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which help to reduce anxiety and depression while boosting emotional health as well as physical health. Just 45 minutes per day 2-3 times per week can change your whole outlook during the winter months!
5. TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Being cooped inside with heaters means fresh air is much harder to come by during winter. Outdoor exercise gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without the risk of breathing in others bugs. If you want to improve your lung capacity or suffer from respiratory problems, water cycling in a heated pool can help you improve your quality of life. During winter, the air becomes dry, causing respiratory problems to worsen. A class in a heated pool is a great way to help reverse these respiratory irritants.
6. AVOID WINTER WEIGHT GAIN AND BE SUMMER READY
During the colder months, it is too easy to turn to food as a source of comfort, it's satisfying, and it helps us feel good, well, for a little while anyway. This is why winter is known as the 'weight gain' period; the average Australian puts on up to 4 kgs across these months. So to maintain a healthy weight keep healthy fitness habits, a regular exercise routine and healthy meal substitutes in your daily routine to combat the excess calories we may consume during hibernation.
STILL HARD TO STAY MOTIVATED?
If fantastic health benefits that improve your quality of life are not enough, there are a few ways to make winter pool workouts even easier. We have found a being prepared with something warm to put on when you get out of the pool, a thermal rashie with a zip and a hat is the best option.
As our Germans friends say, 'there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. The Germans swim outdoor in -18. This time of year, our Australian pools are heated, but we have to be careful to rug up after. Dressing gowns and Swim Parker's are great options to put on when you get out or to help you get to the pool.
DON'T CONFUSE A SUN RASHIE WITH A THERMAL RASHIE
The 'thermal' rashies are great in the water to keep the top half toasty till you get moving on your AquaBike. A normal rashie in Australia is made for the sun so when wet and a breeze it makes you colder. A thermal rashie keeps you warm till you warm-up and can unzip when it suits. We recommend a thermal rashie with a zip so it is easy take off when you heat up.
WEAR A HAT
A hat is a pro tip we learned from the surfing community; it keeps the heat in.
Keep pedalling and maintain a regular exercise routine 2-3 times per week to stay fit and healthy this winter.
Experiencing knee pain? Here are some of the most effective exercises to strengthen the knees and prevent knee injuries.