The benefit of having 40+ Blog Posts is that I get to review older Posts, add new information, and refine them a little.
This Post that I’m re-Blogging was my first ever WordPress Post, and was written with those in the Southern Hemisphere in mind. I’ve tweaked it enough to include some new links, and to make a little more relevant for our friends in the Northern Hemisphere. Hope you all enjoy it!
Ah, autumn (or fall, if you’re reading this in the US or Canada!). Crisp, fresh mornings with exquisite sun rises and beautiful sunsets! A slight chill in the evening when you go to bed which makes you pull the blanket up, but still wonderfully warm during the day to walk barefoot on the grass in the sunshine, or to swim in the ocean or lake! But, Winter is around the corner. This means shorter, darker days, which means less time and therefore less productivity!
So why would you want to possibly start or maintain a fitness program during this time? For all the reasons stated above! Training in the colder months means you are fit and ready to go in the warmer months!
Read and get motivated to train season in, season out with Core Health Dynamics Top 5 Winter Training Tips:
5. Winter is the worst time of year to train:
Winter is cold, the rain and wind can chill you to the bone, and it will usually be dark if you’re training in the morning or after work. So think of it like this: If you can train in these conditions, then motivating yourself to train at any other time of the year when it’s warmer, lighter and generally better weather will be a cinch!
4. Stop sitting down:
Chris Kresser, author of ‘Your Personal Paleo’, calls “sitting the new smoking” (1)! A little extreme? Perhaps not, as sitting for prolonged periods of time is being linked as a contributing factor to Obesity, Type II diabetes, and Coronary Heart Disease.
Think about it: You’re sitting for a big chunk of your day between commuting, in your office and then on the lounge at night watching tv. (If you want to be particularly freaked out by this last fact, read the link here (2) from The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study) .
So get moving! You’ll still have plenty of time to sit in the office and read those emails (or you could just phone some people instead while walking); you’ll be stuck in traffic regardless if you live in any bigger City in the world (but for not as long if you exercise before work and therefore miss Peak Hour!); and you can always record your favourite show on tv and watch it any time (and instead get an exercise session in straight after work…not too late though, that may affect your sleep [click here if you want to know more about why you should get good quality sleep time])
3. No Depression for you:
In Winter, or even just on colder days, do you feel more tired than usual? How about a bit more lethargic, a little grumpier? If so, congratulations, you’re suffering from ‘SAD’!
However, ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD…yep, gotta love that acronym) is a type of mood disorder that can affect up to nearly 10% of the population in countries that have prolonged Winter’s. However a US study proved that exercise was shown to reduce these symptoms of this mood disorder in 55% of subjects over as little at 10 weeks (3)! And, in a four-month study, 45% of subject no longer met the criteria of Depression when on a structured Exercise Program (4)! So go get that blood pumping, feel better, and don’t get SAD!
2. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen:
It will take only a few days for you to feel the effects of a fitness program. You should be sleeping better, have more energy, and generally feel better about yourself! However, it will take a few weeks for you to physically see the results.
If you can start training in mid-Winter, then in 8 – 12 weeks you should be close to hitting your fitness goal, and be reaping the benefits of a leaner, meaner, more svelte body. And, you are going to need some decent weather in order to show that body off a little, right? So if you train for that Winter period, when Spring comes around and therefore the warmer weather, you’ll be ready to go!
1. You will Sleep better than ever:
In the animal kingdom, Winter is time when you store food and sleep more. Why? It’s a survival mechanism – you avoid the colder days, and food will be scarce for herbivores and carnivores alike.
Humans are no different. This is why it’s easier to smash a packet of chips in one sitting! Instinct is telling you to stock up on food in case you can’t eat tomorrow. Not that our Caveman ancestors had ready access to packets of chips, but you get what I’m saying. In fact, if you need help with Food Cravings, click here. So what has this got to do with sleep?
Well if you’re not sleeping well, or aren’t making enough time for good quality sleep, your bucking your basic, ancestral genes! And this, along with eating excessively, and/or excessively eating the wrong foods, is a recipe for disaster! You could come out of Winter overweight, depressed and totally behind your fitness regime!
Sleep is the biggest Health and Fitness fix you can give yourself! It’s ahead of nutrition, and ahead of physical movement! However do not over sleep, as this can also have negative effects, and also has links to depression and obesity!
Optimally, go for between 7-9 hours sleep per night, a little more if you’ve had a big training day. Exercise will help you sleep better by providing a ‘release’, or ‘outlet’ for stress and anxiety. It does this by kicking in those wonderful naturally occurring chemical Endorphins, your body’s way of saying ‘you just worked really hard, here’s a hit to make you feel pretty good about yourself’! Once this feeling subsides later in the day and evening, Melatonin, your bodies sleep chemical, switches on other aspects of the body to relax you. Thus, you will sleep better.
Don’t believe me? Try this:
Exercise for no longer than 45 minutes, 4 times this week. It can be Resistance (Weight) Training (click here for our Post), Cardio, or my preferred training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Then don’t eat two hours before bed, regulate your going to bed and waking up time, and tell me you don’t sleep better. In fact, if you don’t sleep better, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and together we’ll try and work out what’s holding you back!
Sources and Notes:
(2) Television viewing time and Mortality, http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/121/3/384.short
(3) Cooney GM, Dwan K,Greig CA, Lawlor DA, Rimer J, Waugh FR, McMurdo M, Mead GE, Exercise for Depression, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 9.
(4) Mental Illness and Exercise. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Hearts_and_Minds/exercise/Mental_Illness_and_Exercise.htm