The weather has changed and the evenings are shrouded in darkness. Yes, winter is here. Time to curl up with a hot brew and comfort food. Or is it? Probably the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. But this time of year is precisely the time you should be hitting the gym.
According to the experts, autumn is the time of year when we feel invigorated. Studies show that our brains are at their sharpest now, and ripe for motivation and establishing healthy habits. The cooler weather and colourful leaves practically scream energy and activity to us; and we find ourselves with more free time as school starts and weekend BBQs wave a distant farewell.
Exercise boosts our immune system against seasonal coughs and colds. Any activity will do – even a brisk walk will get the oxygen circulating and strengthening cells that fight bacteria. The effect only lasts for a few hours, but that’s even more reason to do regular workouts and stick to your fitness goals.
It’s tempting to wrap up with jumpers and forget about the bourgeoning bulges beneath, but prioritise your workouts now and those trim shorts will still fit you next April. Autumn is also a great time to overhaul your body, so focus on those important core muscles rather than worry about flattening your stomach.
Enjoy autumn food in all its glory to warm and refuel your body with nutrients. Hearty soups and casseroles like this Simple Root Veg Stew are stuffed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Take advantage of this type of cooking by using a slow cooker to give you even more time for workouts.
In terms of your mental health, regular exercise helps to keep the body topped up with endorphins and dopamine, both of which help counter the ‘winter blues’ and boost your general sense of well-being. To help prevent SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) do outdoor activities on top of your gym workouts – an extra opportunity to enjoy the glorious autumnal colours!
I do find that exercise keeps me feeling positive, and I can get SAD so this has always been a big incentive for me to exercise throughout the year.
oh yes, the 'winter coat' - all too easy to put on beneath the layers, and the chickens do indeed come home to roost in spring. I am determined that it won't happen this year.