Being active through winter is a challenge you can easily beat

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Man walking in winter
Being active during winter can be tough; the weather can be so chilly and wet that you feel it’s easier to stay inside at your desk, relaxing on the couch, or keeping snug in bed.

But there are many ways you can get active, even when the mercury drops.

Why it’s important to exercise through winter

Staying active is great for your heart health. Unfortunately, many Australians do not get enough exercise: 54% of women and 51% of men aged 18 – 64 aren’t active enough, which means their heart health could be at risk.

How much exercise do you need to do to keep your heart healthy? The Heart Foundation supports Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines. For adults, these guidelines recommend:

  • Doing any level of physical activity, because it’s better than doing none. It’s fine to start with a little and build up.
  • Being active on most, preferably all, days every week.
  • Aiming for 150 minutes of moderate intensity or vigorous intensity physical activity each week.
  • Doing muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days each week.

During winter, we can lose our motivation to keep moving, which means we can miss out on the heart health benefits of physical activity.

So, how do you get your winter workout?

Remember, there are many positives about getting active when it’s cold: there’s no heat, you may sweat less and, when you are exercising outdoors, you won’t get sunburned, and there are no flies buzzing about.

Ideas on staying active, even when the weather is terrible.

Winter exercise isn’t impossible, there are ways you can get around the challenges of exercising during cold weather:

  • Plan ahead and be ready for the rain: even if it’s dreary, you can still head out for a walk. Check the weather forecast and find a time of the day when the rain eases up. Plus, if you plan, you can take an umbrella or wear a raincoat. Remember to wear sturdy shoes with good grip; the footpath or walking trail may be wet and slippery.
  • Layer up to keep the cold at bay: if you're heading outside, wear layers so that you’re protected against the weather when you start exercising. As your body warms up, you can lose the heavy jacket and even your hoodie (if you’re moving fast enough, or if the weather isn’t too cold). Members of our local Heart Foundation Walking groups will have plenty of tips on ways to stay warm while exercising in the cold.
  • Try novel ways of exercising indoors: your local gym or indoor swimming pool are ideal places to get active during winter. Take a yoga class or even head out dancing! Other ideas to try include, taking the stairs at work, instead of the lift; going for a brisk walk through a nearby shopping centre; getting active while tidying up at home; jumping on an exercise bike or treadmill; watching retro home exercise videos on YouTube (you’ll cringe when you see what they’re wearing!).

Be ready to be active in spring.

Staying active through winter has one more benefit: you will be ready to keep going as we move into spring and the weather warms up! In September the weather will improve, the sun will start shining again, and you can be ready to get moving!

Learn more about getting active.