Following Christmas and New Year, you may have decided to go for it and focus on your health and fitness! The turn of the New Year can offer a promising time to set and smash some new exercise goals, however, this time of year is notorious for offering short lived results where maintaining health and fitness aspirations are challenging.
The winter period can make exercise and training difficult, especially with colder, darker mornings and evenings that can negatively impact motivation. Winter tiredness encapsulates the increased feeling of lethargy and fatigue, where energy levels can be difficult to elevate and maintain compared to other times in the year. It is important to alter your lifestyle to ensure you optimally remain motivated to hit your exercise and workout goals.
5 lifestyle changes to improve and maintain your energy this winter:
- Bring exercise indoors
You may be used to exercising outside, with an evening run forming a consistent part of your weekly routine. If you are finding it difficult to motivate yourself to adhere to your usual exercise routines, it may be worthwhile bringing training indoors! Going to the gym or a fitness class can help to better allocate time to your exercise and fitness goals, especially around work and other weekly commitments. Furthermore, training inside can help remove the somewhat un-avoidable obstacle of poor weather, ensuring your aerobic (endurance-based) sessions are not unnecessarily disrupted; the risk of incurring injury due to unstable terrain is also minimised.
If you suffer from asthma, training in a warmer environment may help to reduce irritation of the lungs. Cold air can exacerbate breathing issues, especially when conducting exercise with a moderate-intense respiratory demand. It is similarly important to ensure you are able to source effective asthma treatment from a trustworthy source, such as Pharmica Online Pharmacy.
- Look after your general health
A significant threat to ongoing exercise progress is illness. Flu like symptoms are common around the winter period, where everyone is driven inside due to the harsh elements, offering up an environment where viral infection transmission is rapid. Becoming ill can substantially contribute toward feelings of lethargy, fatigue and a lack of motivation, adversely influencing progress toward your goals. To ensure that you remain energised and minimise the disruption of illness, ensure you keep good hygiene in public spaces and source reliable, effective anti-flu treatment.
- Partner up with friends
Research reports that training in a group compared to training alone can significantly enhance your motivation, training performance and overall well-being. So, partnering up or committing to a fitness class may be the way forward to boost your motivation! Exercising with others enables a competitive element to your training which may help you to meet your targets more efficiently. Furthermore, establishing a network of like-minded individuals forms a great source of advice and guidance that may assist you with your exercise progress.
- Maintain a healthy diet: The importance of Vitamin D
A healthy diet is integral to health and well-being. It is essentially the fuel that enables the body to exercise and recover following energy expenditure. However, insufficient calories can leave you feeling tired and fatigued. Furthermore, a sufficient intake of Vitamin D is crucial to the maintenance of bone, teeth and muscle health. Vitamin D is often adequately produced by the body from sunlight, however, with darker days and reduced light intensity, it may become increasingly difficult to achieve the recommended daily intake (10-20 micrograms/ 400 – 800 IU). Vitamin D intake can be supplemented with a healthy diet including Vitamin D rich foods such as fortified products, oily fish and egg yolks to name a few.
- Sleep quality
Good quality sleep is a necessity for maintaining optimum health and well-being. Improving sleep quality is acknowledged as an effective solution to fatigue induced by winter tiredness and disturbances to your sleep-week cycle. Approximately 8 hours of good quality sleep is necessary for optimum cognitive and physiological function. With increased physical exertion due to an uptake of exercise, rest becomes even more essential to recovery. A lack of sleep can make you feel increasingly fatigued, elevating the appeal of wanting to avoid physical activity or stop altogether.
What should you do if you are experiencing persistently, intense symptoms of fatigue?
Often, everyone can feel a little drowsy over winter; winter tiredness is a common phenomenon and often very manageable with a few minor lifestyle changes. However, excessive fatigue coupled with intense negative feelings can be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or ‘winter depression’; in this instance it is recommended that you seek advice from a medical health professional. SAD has very similar symptoms to ‘winter tiredness’, however, they are more severe, persistent and includes increasingly declining mental health as a primary symptom.
Whilst seemingly straightforward, these simple yet effective tips to boost your energy are often overlooked. It is important to trial a series of these pointers together to discover the extended benefits to your energy and mood. Good luck with your exercise and fitness goals on your journey to a healthier future!