Top tips to stay fit over autumn and winter

Top tips to stay fit over autumn and winter

In this column, I wanted to share my Top Tips to help you keep active, stay motivated and Feel Good in the autumn and winter months ahead.

Scheduling exercise/walks can help you stick to it, especially when the temperatures plummet and days become shorter. Plan and envisage each week ahead to help you stay focussed and stay consistent. Diarise your walks/sessions like you would a meeting, so you’re more likely to commit. If you’re working from home, turn a phone meeting into a walking meeting.

Wear the right clothes: Layer up and dress in appropriate clothing that you can easily take off and put back on.

Protect your extremities: Fingers, ears, nose and toes – so wear a hat/headband; invest in some warm gloves, maybe carry a few hand warmers to slip in as backup warmth; thick socks and a wind cheater jacket. If it’s dark outside, stay safe with a headlamp and reflective gear.

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Top tips to stay fit over autumn and winter
How exercise can help people with diabetes: Find out with Diabetes UK

Set a spring goal: Register for an event a charity walk – I have just completed the Diabetes UK One Million Step Challenge and have done the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walks and Treks this year. By ensuring you have a goal to work towards that requires regular winter training. Make it a SMART goal – eg I’m going to walk 10 miles per week.

Play your favourite music or playlist. Music can definitely help with motivation. Or listen to a podcast! Or call a friend! Time flies when you’re having fun!

Remind yourself why it’s important. Make it your “me time!” An opportunity to escape from your every day stresses, reenergise and practice some self care. Remember those feel good endorphins and how great you feel at the end, and draw on those when you’re next struggling to get moving.

You will burn calories, hit aerobic targets and lose weight/avoid the winter weight gain! A brisk stroll can be so beneficial, even when its brisk outside! Walking at a fast enough pace to get your heart rate up can be just as effective as going for a run. Plus walking burns 300 to 450 calories per hour. Walking in cold temperatures boosts your metabolism further and helps you burn more calories because your body will work harder to stay warm.

It will make you Feel Good! In the winter, a walk can do wonders for your mental health. I have always encouraged people to go for a “Feel Good Walk!” I guarantee once you get moving, it will make you feel good, especially outdoors in fresh air. Studies reveal that exercising outside can beat depression and stress, release endorphins and has a mood lifting effect: the feel-good factor.

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Health coach Lavina Mehta MBE on exercise snacking

Expose yourself to Nature: Forest bathing is the Japanese science of how trees can promote health and happiness. Forest bathing can reduce your stress levels and blood pressure, strengthen your immune and cardiovascular systems, boost your energy, mood, creativity, and concentration, and even help you lose weight and live longer. Soak yourself in nature to nourish your soul. Some of us don’t live near forests, so a park will do. The point is to get outside in nature and simply walk near trees. It’s one of the simplest, free and most effective things we can do for our health.

Beat the Winter Blues: Rather than staying indoors, scheduling regular walking time in your week can boost your vitamin D levels and even help stave off seasonal affective disorder (SAD.) We need exposure to sunlight to help regulate our sleep and circadian rhythms and keep ourselves mentally healthy.

Start Exercise Snacking: 5/10 minutes bitesize amounts of movement through the day which have the same health benefits as an hour long workout. Think of them as a treat for your body & mind! Lots of snacks on my Instagram for you to try!

If you’d like to donate to Diabetes UK One Million Steps Challenge, any amount is greatly appreciated. I’ve managed to hit 1.5 million steps!

Lavina Mehta was awarded an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19. She is passionate about promoting the health benefits of exercise to treat, prevent and reduce risks of common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.

In her regular Feel Good series with iGlobal, the award-winning personal trainer and wellness coach shares stories from her journey into fitness, workout tips and announcements about her upcoming online sessions.

*Catch Lavina on Instagram IGTV; check out special offers at Feel Good Facebook Community; tune into her free seniors workout sessions Zoom; and replay saved sessions, many translated into Gujarati with her mother-in-law, on YouTube.

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