As the days get colder and the mornings get darker, it can be hard to stay motivated to keep pushing towards your health and fitness goals. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is be physically active, and all we want to do is curl up on the couch with a blanket and the heater on. However, training consistently during the winter months has some profound benefits for our bodies and minds – let’s look at a few physical and mental benefits of getting to the gym this winter:
1. Increase your blood flow and circulation – stoke your internal fire
Getting your heart pumping during a workout increases blood flow and circulation throughout your body, especially towards your extremities. This can help prevent feelings of coldness in your fingers and toes, as well as provide a calming effect on your body. Swap out the hot bath for a training session and you’ll be warm in no time.
2. Boost your immune system
Regular exercise strengthens your immune system. This is especially important in winter, the height of cold and flu season. With increased circulation comes increased protection from infection, as immune cells can travel more quickly throughout the body and provide better protection from incoming threats.
3. Enhance your mood and productivity
The mental health benefits from exercise are numerous and can help combat those winter blues. After a bout of exercise, your brain produces chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, also known as your ‘natural high’. The more frequently these chemicals are produced, the better you feel! Regular exercise also helps to reduce stress and anxiety as well as improve focus and productivity.
4. Prevent injuries by maintaining your strength
Consistent weight training has considerable physical benefits not only for the strength of your muscles, but for the health of your bones, joints and connective tissues. Maintaining a baseline level of strength and functionality of these tissues significantly reduces your risk of developing injuries, both acutely and over the long term. Strength gains have been shown to decrease after only two weeks without training – if you don’t use it, you lose it!
5. Reduce those cold weather cravings
Whether it’s hot chocolate, cookies or cheesecake, we all crave some comfort food when the cold weather sets in. Training helps to regulate your appetite and hunger signals to reduce the chances of you overindulging on your favorite treats. Not only are you burning calories with exercise, but you’re crushing your food cravings at the same time.
You’ve probably heard this before, but consistency and enjoyment are the most important factors when it comes to your training. So even when it’s pouring rain outside, jump off the couch and into your best activewear. We promise you won’t regret it.