Winter Exercise Tips
We are now well and truly in the throes of winter. This is a common time for the snooze button to be favoured above a cold morning run, a glass of wine with a friend instead of an after-work walk, or hot soup at your desk instead of lunch time yoga. Exercise can be a challenge at the best of times and often comes off second best. A large part of my role as an exercise physiologist is physical activity counselling; matching the right exercise to the individual. Someone comes in, requests our assistance, we dig a little deeper to make sure we are all on the same page, perform some testing, set some goals, then provide them with the perfect solution to suit their needs. Taking this into consideration, why is it so difficult to achieve these goals? For those that manage to achieve a long-term exercise habit, there needs to be an element of fun and enjoyment. This can be the exercise itself releasing endorphins, elevating mood, improving self-esteem, or the social connection of exercising with friends, family, pets, and we all know the benefits of simply spending time in the great outdoors. To help people through the difficult early stage, I recommend a few resources and winter exercise tips below.
Gamification of exercise
When people embark on a new exercise routine the end goal can seem overwhelming, results are often gradual accomplishments and it is not always possible to recognise that a few calf raises today will allow someone to keep working towards their goal of a half-marathon in 8 weeks time. Keeping people motivated (and fit and healthy) while allowing tissue healing to occur is a tough task. Luckily there are some fantastic resources and solutions to help encourage people to keep moving and stay on track.
7 weeks is a fantastic app that I regularly encourage people to download and use as it allows them to set goals and break them into daily chunks. I often start off giving people a couple of exercise to perform daily to simply get the ball rolling. Once they complete the required daily exercises, they cross it off using the app, enjoy a small dopamine fix from achieving a seemingly small task that will lead to some wonderful long-term outcomes. Give it a try and remember to stikk with it for 7 weeks to form that habit.
Developed by a team of economics professors from Yale, this one requires next level commitment. First you set a goal. Next you appoint a referee to keep you accountable. Finally you put some money on the line. Their research is impressive, as are the results, but is definitely best suited to those that are determined and simply need some pressure to keep on track.