One of the best ways of warming up on a cold winter day is to get some exercise. There are numerous ways of getting active with something to suit each individual's personality, fitness level and financial situation.
Image by Marie Vonow
Ways to get exercise during winter include -
1. Walking Walking is easy and free, and it doesn't put as much strain on the body as jogging or running.
You may be able to walk to work, the shops or do some errands on foot. Another way to fit some walking into your day is to get off the bus a couple of stops early, or if you drive to work perhaps you can park further away.
Some people need motivation to walk regularly or don't like walking alone - they might prefer to walk with a friend or join a walking group run by a community centre or local hospital. There are groups that choose to walk around a shopping centre so they aren't affected by the weather. Years ago I belonged to a walking group. Each week we met at a different location. We even had our 15 minutes of fame when the local newspaper published a photo of the group.
Your dog will enjoy being taken for a walk and it is likely you will get a few hellos from fellow dog walkers. This social connection is an added benefit.
Rug up and enjoy a walk at the beach on a winter's day. Image courtesy of Pixabay
2. Bike riding Riding a bicycle is an excellent way to get exercise. Many locations are encouraging cycling by building cycling tracks and lanes to make it safer. In some locations there are classes to teach people to ride safely and bicycle maintenance courses.
People who own a bicycle may be able to cycle to work or their place of study. Many cities have bike hire schemes which are useful if you are on holiday. In Adelaide you can use a hire bike for free but you need to hand over your driver's licence, proof of age card or passport as security.
Free bike hire in Adelaide. Image by Marie Vonow
3. Playground You might be close enough to walk your children to the local playground. Often you can only watch your children have all the fun but there are a few family playgrounds that have some items suitable for adults. One such place is the Dunstan Adventure Park at St Peters in Adelaide.
The MegaAdventure Aerial Park at West Beach, another Adelaide suburb, provides thrills as well as the opportunity to get some exercise. There is a fee to use this. At a playground you can get exercise and release your inner child at the same time.
4. Outdoor exercise equipment Some parks now offer exercise equipment suitable for adults to use. Instructions for using each piece of equipment are provided and it is free.
Doing a workout in a natural setting, rather than indoors, has numerous health advantages including exposure to fresh air. If you want to lose weight an added bonus is you could burn up to 30% more kilojoules than exercising indoors during cold weather.
Outdoor exercise equipment. Image by Marie Vonow
5. Outdoor fitness classes The other morning I noticed a group of people exercising in a park. Although it was cold the participants seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was a sign on the edge of the footpath advertising the company running the session.
Studies have compared people doing an exercise program outdoors with another group doing the same program indoors. It was found those exercising outdoors were more likely to remain with the program and after the session felt more energetic and positive.
Sign advertising outdoor exercise classes Image by Marie Vonow
6. Gym A gym or fitness centre can be accessed in any sort of weather and these days some are open 24 hours a day. As well as equipment you can use on your own there are often step, aerobic, dance or other classes catering for varying levels of fitness.
7. Indoor sports Numerous sports are played indoors so the weather doesn't pose a problem. These sports include squash, badminton, hockey, cricket, soccer, basketball and futsal. Some are played competitively and others socially.
8. Indoor swimming, water sports and activities Indoor pools may be part of a larger recreation centre. Some apartment living complexes have their own indoor pool for residents.
Swimming and other forms of exercise performed in water are low impact and can be suitable for people with injuries or a physical disability. Classes such as aqua aerobics, aqua zumba or water yoga may be available.
Indoor swimming pool Image courtesy of Pixabay
9. Tai Chi and Yoga Tai chi is a gentle exercise form which helps maintain muscle strength, flexibility and balance. It also helps with mental alertness and concentration as well as reducing stress.
Yoga has physical, mental and spiritual facets. There are various types of yoga offered by different centres. It helps strengthen muscles and the spine, improves posture, balance and flexibility and increases blood flow.
10. DVDs and YouTube Perhaps you want to do some exercise during winter but it is difficult for you to leave the house. Maybe you are self conscious about exercising in front of other people and would rather do it in private.
I did a quick search of DVDs available through the public library and found a wide variety including yoga, pilates, tai chi, zumba, dance and cardio work outs. A number of them are suitable for older people or others with physical restrictions wanting to improve their balance and maintain their mobility. These included exercises that can be done sitting in a chair.
YouTube also provides thousands of videos of different sorts of exercise suitable for a variety of fitness levels.
Tai Chi DVD Image by Marie Vonow
With the wide variety of ways to exercise you should be able to find something that will suit your particular needs and preference. Exercise is a way to warm up and gain improved health at the same time.