It’s officially freezing cold – and with winter comes that familiar reluctance to engage in, well, anything other than rugging up inside a toasty warm house.
For those of us who can’t bear the thought of leaving home to brave the shops, let alone a gym, it’s easy to let those good summer exercise habits fall by the wayside.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to working out at home. Here are some simple, and – dare we say, fun – ways you can get started.
When starting out on any new exercise program make sure you check in with your doctor first. It is important that you undertake exercise appropriate for your age and your health.
How much exercise do you need?
Whether it’s summer or winter, the same healthy exercise guidelines apply. The Australian Government Department of Health suggests:
- Weekly: Aim for 2.5 to 3.5 hours of moderate exercise – or 1.5 to 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise (or a combination of both)
- Most if not all days: Be active, move around, and avoid prolonged sitting
- 2 days per week: Perform muscle strengthening activities
In addition, you should also aim to:
- Do regular resistance training: Resistance training is important for maintaining strength, preventing falls in older people, and helping to reduce heart disease and type 2 diabetes risk factors. Resistance training includes activities like weights, medicine balls and exercises with your own body weight (push ups, crunches).
- Weight bearing exercise: Regular weight bearing exercises help to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. Often referred to as the ‘silent thief’, bone loss associated with osteoporosis begins long before symptoms are noticeable. Weight bearing exercises are those that force you to work against gravity and can include walking, climbing stairs, dancing and weight training.
- Avoid extended periods of sitting: Minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting. Break up long periods of sitting as often as possible. Research has suggested that, even if you meet physical activity guidelines, sitting for long periods of time poses a significant long-term health risk. Sedentary behaviour is linked to many poor outcomes like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even some cancers.
Home exercise inspiration
Living room workouts
You don’t necessarily need a gym or a personal trainer to get stuck into a solid workout. There are lots of great body weight movements you can do at home for an intense cardio workout that rivals any gym exercise glass.
Make up your own workout – or, if you need a little inspiration, Pinterest contains literally thousands of colourful graphics full of ideas for short, sweet and vigorous workout combinations. You can do these exercises in the comfort of your own lounge room – regardless of whether it’s pouring rain or blowing a gale. No excuses! For more home workout inspiration, check out these ideas on Greatist.
Whether you’ve got the moves or are a little more, shall we say, rhythmically challenged, it doesn’t matter; the health benefits of dancing are significant. Regular dancing helps improve your muscular strength, fitness, muscle tone, flexibility, coordination, balance – plus, it’s great fun.
While dancing alone can be a fun way to blow off steam, dancing with your family is even better. Studies have found that both parents and children benefit from spending quality and fun family time together. In particular, children feel special and bond with you when you make the effort to do something fun with them.
You can also check out YouTube for dance videos designed to help with specific health concerns, like weight loss, cardio, weight bearing, resistance training and more.
Morning and evening yoga sessions
Physical activity doesn’t always need to be vigorous or intense. Yoga is a fantastic option for a gentle workout that helps to promote core strength and flexibility. Plus, research has suggested that regular yoga and meditation can help you to relax, switch off from everyday stressors, and get a better night’s sleep.
Yoga practice is easy to work into your daily routine and is recommended in the early morning or early evening. If you’re new to yoga, it’s important to start slowly to avoid injury or incorrect posture. Yoga Australia is the peak body for yoga in Australia and offers credible, professional resources to help you get started.