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August 2018 - Health and Wellbeing

02 Aug 2018

Winning at winter health and fitness

I haven’t reviewed any data from the Bureau of Meteorology, but this 2018 winter has felt like a very cold, wet and bitter couple of months.

The reality is we still have the coldest and wettest month of the year (August) to live and exercise through, so here are some ideas to help you make it through the remaining dark and cold month of winter before we hit spring.

Make a commitment. Everyone finds it more challenging in these colder months to stay motivated and maintain daily exercise routines. We know this, so plan to overcome this from the today. Make a commitment with your colleagues, partner or family that will help motivate and mobilise each other, especially on the days when the weather is brutally cold and wet.

Keep it warm. Venturing out into the cold and wet to exercise or to get to the gym might not be too enjoyable or healthy during winter (you might catch a cold). Try and look for warm and inviting environments to exercise instead. Here are some ideas – swim laps in a heated pool, take a hot yoga class, take an Uber to the gym (if it’s raining) and generate your own heat in a HIT class, or try using an infra-red sauna for some cosy personal relaxation.

Stay healthy. You won’t be able to stay fit if you get sick. Winter is a great time to balance and improve your nutritional intake. Ensure you are eating plenty of vegies and fruit so that you are gaining all the vitamins and minerals you need to fight off any colds and flu that might be getting around.

Get strong and stay strong. It’s always important to train with weights and resistance. You don’t realise how fast you lose your muscle mass and density through inactivity. Maintaining your muscle mass will ensure your metabolic rate stays optimised and high. Seeing that 70 to 80 per cent of your daily energy expenditure is through your body’s metabolic functioning, allowing this to go backwards is not a great way to stay fit and trim.   

Have fun. No one can maintain an exercise program that isn’t fun and enjoyable. Make the most of the good days when the sun is out – get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Look for fun alternatives like running, boot camps, try cross-country skiing or take longer athletic walks in interesting places you haven’t been before. That way you can lift your spirits, boost your energy and vitamin D levels when you get the chance. This will help you stay motivated when the cold weather tries to dampen your enthusiasm.

Find your space – Meditation for beginners

There are so many reasons why we should all make time to meditate, many now backed up by medical science.

Common reasons why people don’t take up the practice of mediation is time (or lack of it) and not knowing where or how to start.

The great news is that you don’t need to set aside hours each day for mediation – you can start with just a few minutes each day and build on that as you go.

Here are five reasons why you should make time for meditation:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety;
  • Increase in kind thoughts and actions;
  • Decrease blood pressure;
  • Helps manage pain; and
  • Improves sleep.

Here are some tips to get you going:

Create time and space. Start with two or three minutes each day, preferably in the morning. Morning rituals and habits are easier to form than later in the day when you are most likely tired and distracted.

Getting started

Choose between seated or lying position, ensure you are comfortable;

  • Close your eyes;
  • Turn your focus to the breath, both the inhalation and exhalation;
  • Observe how your body responds to your breath and breathing; and
  • Maintain focus on your breathing for two or three minutes and then open your eyes.

Next steps

Increase the time you meditate – consider your personal comfort. You can buy a meditation chair or use mats, pillows or bolsters to improve the experience.

Use technology – there are many great apps that you can download that will help guide and educate you on your mind body journey. Examples of apps are Headspace and Calm.

Consider a class – search for a local meditation class within a reputable facility or community centre.

Good luck!

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