Exercise in winter is not something that everyone necessarily wants to do, but it is certainly something that everyone should be doing! We all know what winter is like. It is cold, dark, can be wet (although it can’t be wetter than summer) and it is generally not the most pleasant of times. It tends to be a time of sickness and comfort foods. If you find yourself wanting to rug up under a blanket instead of exercising, then you are certainly not alone.

It all sounds pretty awful doesn’t it?

Whilst winter might not necessarily be the easiest time to stay motivated and keep moving towards your goals, there are actually some great benefits and reasons why it might actually be the BEST time to start an exercise program.



Winter Exercise Benefit #1 – Mood Improvement


As mentioned in the intro, winter is not the nicest time of year. It is not a surprise that the day to day routine can feel like more of a challenge than the summer months.

With the combination of:

  • Dark days
  • Poor weather
  • Increased risk of illness
  • Lack of Vitamin D
  • Increased chance of depression and/or ‘SAD‘ (seasonal affective disorder)

It is really easy to understand why a lot of people struggle with their moods.

Incorporating exercise into your day will give you routine and structure. This in itself has proven to drastically improve mood and purpose.

Along with this, exercise releases chemicals into the body which help de-stress and make you feel good. If you combine this with some outdoor work in the sun (if possible), your mood will naturally improve throughout the colder months.

There are also some great post-exercise benefits. After exercise there are more hormones which get released (serotonin and dopamine). These are known to help reduce anxiety and sadness by improving well-being, behaviour and emotion.

All of this happens when we are exercising, not when we are on the couch. So that alone is a fantastic reason to get up and out in the colder months!



Winter Exercise Benefit #2 – Burn More Calories


When it is winter it is colder, and as a result, we are too! Not the biggest hot-take of all time, but true nonetheless.

Since we are in this cold environment it actually takes more energy for the body to keep the internal temperature at the level required to continue vital functions.

As a result of this, the body will already be working at a higher level to stay warm. Throw a workout on top of this and you are getting extra bang for your buck.

The more you exercise, the more energy your body needs to burn to function. The more energy your body needs to burn to function, the higher the likelihood that the body will turn to your fats cells in order to do so.

Exercise in winter is a win-win situation!



Winter Exercise Benefit #3 – Improved Immune System


Winter is a natural time for sickness to be around. There are countless viruses and illnesses that tend to pop up around the colder months of the year. Not to mention the ever-present COVID threat. It is very important that we do everything possible to ensure our health throughout the colder months is of the highest priority.

Starting an exercise program can only help that.

Combined with a responsible nutritional intake high in vegetables and vitamins, exercise will help the body transport nutrients in a much more efficient fashion.

If the body is working as well as possible throughout the winter months, you will have a higher chance of avoiding illness.

If you are unable to avoid any illness and you do get sick, you will also put yourself in the best position possible to recover quickly.

There is no point being sick for a long period of time if you can avoid it right?



Winter Exercise Benefit #4 – Energy Levels Increase


This time of year can be a real drain on the energy levels. The lack of sunshine combined with the cold weather and the increased chance of inactivity, it is very easy for the body to respond in kind.

Whilst it can feel like a superhuman effort just to get out of bed in the morning when it is dark outside, regular exercise is proven to improve the energy levels.

Studies show that sedentary people who start moving experience a dramatic drop in fatigue. If you also add the impact of those feel-good hormones that are in the body throughout exercise, it will not be long before you are feeling more energetic naturally throughout the colder months.



Winter Exercise Benefit #5 – Ready for Summer


If the above 4 reasons were not enough to highlight the massive benefits that starting an exercise program in winter has, then the fact that summer follows soon after must be the cherry on top.

There is an age old saying in fitness that ‘summer bodies are created in winter’, and it is very true. Making a change to your health and fitness takes time, it takes hard work and it takes commitment.

Yes it is hard to do this in winter, but the fact is that if you start this process when it becomes warm again, you will be seeing the results in the middle or towards the end of summer.

Starting an exercise program in winter means that by the time summer does arrive, all that hard work would have paid off. You will be feeling fitter, healthier and be ready to get into the warm weather knowing that you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor just that little bit more.



In Summary


Whilst it is not the most enticing time to be exercising and it is understandable why people do not like it, it is going to help.

If you are looking for:

  • Mood improvements
  • A higher chance of burning calories
  • An improved immune system
  • Increased energy levels
  • And to be in the best possible shape for summer


Then there is no better time to start than now!



Want To Learn More?


Since COVID-19 entered our lives, we have aimed to deliver some great weekly information as to how you can remain healthy, productive and in good spirits. This blog post is the latest addition to a growing library of information. Click to read more on our dedicated COVID support blogs.


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