How can I stay fit in winter? Our advice

Reading time: 5 minutes
20/02/2024

Help, it's winter!

It's here and you can feel it: it's cold, it gets dark quickly after 4 or 5 pm...

Gone are the sunshine and mild temperatures, welcome the snow and sleet!

Okay, I know you're going to give me all the goodies: raclette, raclette and... raclette! Oh, and I forgot Christmas and New Year's Eve: I don't know about you, but I always end up knocked out after the festive season. Too much to eat, too much to drink and all at the same time... the whole shebang!

Fortunately, sport is there to help me. But it's never easy to stick to it! With the weather and the winter blues, you just want to hibernate all winter under the comforter, don't you?

So read on, because I've got a few tips to share with you. Tempted... shall we? Go for it!

Above all, know how to motivate yourself

Why exercise in winter?

Sport may seem easy in summer: the weather's fine, you're on vacation and you want to get moving and exercise... but it's the opposite in winter: it's cold, everything's dark and you want to stay at home, under the covers... You're simply in a funk.

But now is the time to keep your motivation high! Sport in winter is excellent for our physical and mental health... A real well-being booster!

Whether you're on your own or in a group, winter sport has many benefits: it relieves stress, builds up vitamin D, burns more calories and helps you sleep better...

Let me explain:

- Sport is a real remedy for the winter blues: being physically active releases so-called " happy hormones" (endorphins, dopamine and serotonin). An effective cocktail to boost your morale. And it works just as well in summer as in winter! Especially since, as light levels fall, we lose vitamin D... And that's where the winter blues come in! But by getting out and about, you'll be able to accumulate vitamin D and benefit from the effect of the famous hormones... Isn't that great? Say goodbye to the blues and hello to a good mood!

- We burn more calories when it's cold. That's because our bodies expend much more energy than usual to maintain their body temperature. So you lose weight and don't feel too guilty about raclette evenings with friends... it's motivating, isn't it?

- It boosts the immune system: yes, because playing sports in the cold increases the number of white blood cells. It's the ideal weapon for fighting seasonal viruses!

It's the heart's trump card: when it's cold, the heart has to pump a lot to send out blood. It becomes more muscular... A good way to keep your heart in top shape.

Pense-bête: 5 tips for winter sports enthusiasts  

- Cover up: but not too much! With all your exertion, you're going to sweat and risk catching a cold. Specialists recommend the 3-layer technique: a breathable layer to wick away perspiration, a thermally-insulating layer to keep you warm, and a waterproof layer to protect against wind and rain. The most important thing to remember is to protect the extremities, the most fragile targets of the cold: fingers and toes with gloves and sports socks. And don't forget your nose and ears... Get out your hat and scarf! What about footwear? Sneakers with studs are perfect to avoid slipping... There's no need to break anything before the holidays!

- Always more warm-ups: It's cold out, so your body needs more time to warm up and warm down your muscles. Think about increasing your usual warm-up time by 15 to 20 minutes, or even doubling it! It would be a shame to injure yourself if you don't warm up long enough. Take it easy: start with an active walk and increase the intensity as you go along. Stretching before and after is ideal for preventing muscle soreness! (And of course, the best thing of all: a massage! But after the effort, eh?) Because here too, you need more time to recover...

- Don't forget to hydrate: just like in summer! Except that we think less about it in the cold. However, practicing a sport in winter causes more perspiration, especially with our 3 layers of clothing. So, whether before, during or after exercise, your body needs water. The right reflex? Drink every 10 minutes, on average. (Avoid cold water, however).

- Eat a balanced diet: You simply have to cover the amount of energy you're going to expend. Cold weather increases your calorie requirements , so opt for a meal rich in complex carbohydrates to help your muscles work. You can also opt for slow, protein-rich sugars or wholegrain cereals such as pasta, rice, legumes and potatoes (or nuts, dried fruit or energy bars in case you feel a little sluggish). And don't forget omega-3s: fish (herring, salmon, mackerel) or oilseeds (walnut, olive, sesame or dried fruit oil). Bon appétit!

- Breathing properly: In winter, it's more important than ever to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Otherwise, you'll dry out your mouth and let impurities enter your lungs! By breathing in through your nose, you allow it to warm the cold air you inhale and play its protective role. A good way to avoid illness.

P.S. In low light, make sure you' re visible! A headlamp, fluorescent clothing or objects such as an armband or clothing will be welcome.

So, are you ready? Well motivated? All the better!

You're going to be real "warriors" this winter... Whatever discipline you choose, keep in mind our tips and tricks and everything should go smoothly...

And you know what they say? After the effort... But I'll let you choose how you apply it, you little rascals!

See you soon for new adventures!

By Edmond Kean

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