Heading into the cooler months, it’s important to try and stay healthy naturally. Clare Murden from Core Physio and Pilates talks us through her top tips for staying fit even when the temperatures drop.
When the colder months set in and the days get shorter, finding the motivation to keep the healthy routines we carve out in summer can be difficult. Often, eating and exercise habits can fall by the wayside and be replaced by days spent indoors sheltering from the change of season.
Cozy days spent by the fire, sipping hot chocolate and watching movies sounds idyllic, but it’s also important to stay on top of preventive activities such as a healthy diet and exercise. Neglecting them can lead to an all-round weaker immune system, and a greater risk of catching a bug or winding up injured.
Clare Murden is a mother of four, a physiotherapist and pilates instructor who lives in Mount Maunganui and doesn’t let cold weather get in the way of maintaining her health.
“I’m all about the outdoors, but if it’s horrific weather I’ll do my pilates at home. I involve my baby, so I’ll fly him over my body, aeroplane him around, lie on my front, he climbs on me and it makes it into play. I’m using my environment a lot – the beach is a huge place where I exercise, my family is a part of how I exercise and how I incorporate my children,” she says.
She says it’s important to stay on top of their health and wellbeing heading into winter, as it keeps our spirits up despite the waning sunlight hours.
1. Get regular exercise
“When you exercise, your body releases chemicals which make you feel good – endorphins and a number of chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. This is proven to help with depression and it’s a mood enhancer. The less sunlight hours can mean more winter blues, so if you’re getting out and getting sunlight and exercising, that will help alleviate your mood.”
2. Ditch the car
In order to embrace the season and stay healthy, she recommends finding an exercise that can easily become a part of your routine and avoiding using the car when possible.
“The more regularly you do it, the more normal it’s going to feel to do and not as much of a big deal,” Clare says. “It’s about finding an exercise regime you love to do. It’s not a chore, it’s enjoyable and social, like taking yourself out for a walk and meeting a friend to have a coffee.”
3. Get active indoors and online
But for those who aren’t keen to brave the outdoors, she suggests practicing pilates or yoga because it always has an indoors option.
“Pilates or yoga is quite a gentle exercise on the body, so if you’re recovering from an injury, that’s the perfect option because it will help you strengthen and retrain muscles. It’s a gentle way of coming back into exercise.
“You can also do it whatever the weather, inside or outside and join a class for that social aspect, where you get an instructor who will help with your technique. Alternatively, there are great online options you can sign up for on YouTube.”
4. Stay nourished
Exercising aside, Clare says other factors to keep in mind are having a healthy, balanced diet, drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and getting a full night’s sleep.
5. Get a full night of sleep
“Sleeping well is important because sleep affects your brain function and also your body’s healing – so how readily it heals, and how strong you feel too.
Sleep at night is when all the repairs happen in your body, so if you’re not getting enough, you’re going to be prone to injury,” she says.