IN THE COLD SEASON, MOST PEOPLE do not feel very well – this is due to the seasonal loss of energy , and the dullness outside the window and the New Year’s regime “I can’t take it anymore.” Even if we do not take into account the “winter blues”, in cold weather our body becomes less mobile – and more “lazy” – due to a decrease in the speed of blood flow. But this does not mean that you need to surrender to the influence of winter completely. Studies show that minimal activity also improves health indicators, and even when the weather is not conducive to sports, you should not completely give up movement. Do you want to move? Especially not necessary. Here are a dozen simple but effective actions that will help you stay active in the cold.
The legendary benefits of walking are not fiction at all. For example, researchers at Harvard found that walking for an hour or more can slow down the activity of genes associated with obesity by an impressive 50%. And scientists at the University of Exeter have found that even a short walk can cut sugar cravings in half at work. And this is without the standard bonuses, including a positive change in immune parameters in just thirty minutes and an improvement in the work of the cardiovascular system in just twenty minutes.
Afraid of freezing while walking? And in vain. From improved sleep quality to increased rate of fat loss in the body, new research shows that colder temperatures offer a host of benefits . Of course, it’s not worth bringing the situation to extreme – thermal underwear, good socks and a windproof jacket will come in handy.
Use a fitness tracker
According to the ACSM Health & Fitness Journal’s annual survey , trackers, smartwatches, and other wearable (and on-body) technology will be the top fitness trend of 2019. If you bought such a gadget on the previous wave of popularity, and now it is lying around somewhere, then winter is the time to look for it there.
You may have heard that fitness trackers and apps don’t work – and there really was such research . But the problem, scientists say, is not that technology is useless for health, but that we get bored. According to research, 30% of people stop using fitness trackers six months after purchase. Hence all these disappointing conclusions that the use of a tracker does not affect people’s health even if there is a financial incentive, and that people lose weight faster without trackers than with them.
How, then, do you use your gadgets to keep your winter activity level? Take note of research that has shown that apps with “support networks” – having a group of like-minded people who can follow your progress – work even with very low motivation to exercise. And download apps that have this feature.
Can’t bring yourself to go to the gym? Then go to the party – it’s much easier to decide on this. Meanwhile, studies show that dancing is a worthy alternative to fitness, both in terms of slowing down the aging process, and in terms of improving overall physical and mental performance. When choosing a type of dance, however, keep in mind that zumba has recently proved to be one of the most traumatic styles.
If the weather or mood is not conducive to entertainment outside the home, dance in your own apartment. For inspiration, explore the Finnish philosophy of kalsarikyanni as the art of drinking at home in pajamas or underwear. It is only better to keep the amount of alcohol to a minimum, because its positive effects on health are still the subject of lively scientific discussions .
Don’t forget to rest
You probably know that to get impressive results from fitness activity, you need to constantly increase the load. Which, however, does not mean that you have to train 24/7. Moreover, it is just not necessary to do this – but it is absolutely necessary to rest .
High-intensity exercise triggers an inflammatory response that helps muscles (and everything else) to heal. But if your recovery time isn’t enough, this inflammatory response can work against you, making your body more susceptible to infections. And in the flu season, which lasts right up to March , this moment cannot be ignored. We recommend that you do not worry about the missed days, the constant concern about skipping workouts can be harmful in itself .
Do the cleaning
It may seem like cleaning is not so-so activity, but the results of several studies suggest that washing, cooking and ironing can be an alternative to fitness. In any case, when it comes to the effect of physical activity on heart health .
However, do not get carried away – an overly active household, on the contrary, negatively affects the state of health, including all the same cardiovascular system and lung function . That is, here, as in sports, moderation and the ability to stop in time are important.
Standing more is another option for conditioned activity. One curious study published by the European Society of Cardiology made it possible to say that if during a six-hour working day a person did not sit, but stood, then he could lose ten kilograms in four years. And even if the numbers in terms of days are not too impressive, the method obviously works.
Corresponding to this data, by the way, is scientific reasoning that one of the main things we can do to reduce the risks of sedentary work is to get up as often as possible . And also, it is desirable to walk. So if you arm yourself with a book and, while reading, walk around the room, a winter evening can turn out, if not active, then certainly not passive.
Finally, who said shopping for a New Year’s party outfit couldn’t be fitness? It can very well, if not measuredly walk around the shopping center (and not order on the Internet), but move between rails quite actively. To be fair, there is no comparison with the audience – but how much pleasure.
Take a bath
Unbelievable, but true: on those days when you want to train, but you can’t, a bath with foam and aromatic oil, and possibly a visual accompaniment in the form of candles, can help. The main thing is to be as hot as possible. Because if we talk not about strength, but about the general strengthening component of physical exercises, then hot water works here in a similar way.
This is the conclusion reached by American scientists who found that an increase in body temperature stabilizes markers of inflammation, blood sugar and insulin levels for two weeks. The same thing happens after training. And despite the fact that the authors of the study recorded an increase in only one important health marker out of the two studied, this method can and should be adopted.
Don’t forget about sex
Is it possible to replace fitness with sex? Yes, but only when it comes to low to moderate exercise. Studies show that about 4 kilocalories are spent per minute of sex, while light jogging burns twice as much. But sex, of course, can be both a healthy addition and a substitute for physical activity. And especially in winter, when – that’s lucky – you don’t want to get out of bed at all.
Recall that sex also improves sleep , reduces the effects of stress overload, and is generally a good aerobic (read: able to reduce any heart risks) exercise. And that’s not to mention the legendary post-sexual glow that can last up to 48 hours.
On average, in the winter, even the best of us exercise 11 minutes less , which is a worry when trying to analyze. “Why did I always feel normal for 45 minutes, and now I can only stand 35?” Because winter is the right answer. But this answer, however, does not suit our brain, and the motivation is getting less and less.
Fortunately, there is an unexpected and very effective solution for maintaining your athletic mood – meditation. Scientists came to this conclusion, having discovered that if you start a lesson with a ten-minute meditation, then its duration will be maintained, and anxiety about this will go away. The benefits of meditation of all sorts, from increasing mindfulness to decreasing sensitivity to pain, are a welcome bonus.
Don’t let yourself get bored
Just as we experience boredom during routine activities, so our body “gets bored” when it is offered the same thing every day. Studies show that it is the adaptation of the body to a particular type of exercise that is the reason why these exercises do not bring the desired results. And in winter this is more important than in summer, precisely because of the lowered motivation.
So a challenge in which you promise yourself to try as many destinations as possible is a great idea. No matter how many times a week you train (even one), make it something new every week. A little fitness regimen optimization? Make sure that the “menu” includes both cardio and strength exercises. Because in combination it seems to work best.