Why Spend Winter Outdoors

When the sun is beaming and the temperature is warm we have no problem getting outdoors, there’s more light, our muscles feel looser in the heat, the world even seems happier when the sun is shining. So when the colder months arrive should we stop spending time in our outdoor environments? Definitely not, all of the immune boosting, physiological and mental health benefits are still there.

Muscular aches and pains in the colder months:

Do you feel like your body has become more tense or that you’re experiencing aches and pains in your joints? What could be influencing this increase in discomfort? Well have you noticed your posture change, as the shoulders roll in and we tense up, we shorten our range and reduce our mobility. Warmer muscles are more supple and lengthened, hence we warm up before exercising.

In winter we should give our muscles extra time to warm up, beginning slowly with movement and doing some dynamic stretching to assist the muscles to relax and lengthen.

Sleep:

The best medicine for your aches and pains will always be too keep moving and get enough rest to recover! During sleep Pathogen, fighters T-cells are produced which fight off infection and keep our immune system strong. We also give our bodies time to recover, learn new muscular patterns and to rejuvenate.

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You often hear the excuse to stay indoors so you don’t get sick, however this assumption is false, we do not catch infection from the cold, sickness is transferred via viruses. If our immune system is low then we are more susceptible to getting sick. It is interesting to note that Vitamin D or getting some sunlight will actually help our T cells to work effectively. Without Vitamin D in the bloodstream, these infection fighters will be inactive.

Senses

When we opIMG_7461.JPGen our eyes to sunlight our photo receptors capture the light and send messages to the brain to respond. Our brain then regulates our serotonin levels which control our circadian rhythm or body clock regulating our sleep and hunger cycles. When Serotonin levels rise we tend to feel more alert, energized and happy. If we do not get
nough light we tend to feel more fatigued, motivation levels decrease, we tend to eat and random, and we can actually feel more depressed. The best time to absorb light is first thing in the morning telling our brain and body to wake up. As the day goes on, we should try and limit our amount of light exposure which can trick our brain to think its day, resulting in our body feeling more alert then it needs to be, and our bodies not win
ding down to rest and sleep. Avoiding technology can be hard for most but if we can limit
the use at least an hour before bed your body would be very thankful for the sleep.

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Maintaining a regular movement routine can help our body to reduce joint stiffness as
circulation improves reducing aches and pains, the body strengthens both in the muscle and increasing bone density, also influenced by the amount of sun exposure we have, as Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium. Exercise will actually boost the functioning of those pathogen fighter T- cells to help them work faster and effectively increasing our immunity to illness and disease.

“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”  Hippocrates.

When it’s cold it’s harder to motivate our selves, but the best thing you can do is:

  1. Wake up and get outside for even just 10 minutes to give your body and brain some sunlight to start the day. Feel the cold and give your skin enough time to pass messages to the brain to regulate your temperature and warm you up.
  2. Get active with friends. Your friends or social group will help to motivate and encourage you, this social interaction will also help to improve your mood, helping you to feel happier.
  3. Layer up– Be prepared and wear layers to begin, as you begin to move and adapt to the temperature you can always delayer. This includes when it’s raining, simply wear a raincoat or take an umbrella, rain is only water…
  4. Do things you enjoy! Take yourself to places that inspire you! We have so much natural beauty at our door steps, so get out and see it!

Adventure PT runs weekly classes to engage you both physically, sensory and socially check out what’s on offer on our facebook page, Meet up or the Training and Events link on the website.

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Published by jdv05

I'm an Exercise Scientist leading Personal Training and active tours around Parks Victoria protected spaces of Warburton and the Mornington Peninsula. A lover all things movement, incorporating nature into our sessions and personal workouts. I spent 2014 in Japan working as a tour guide and researching trails and writing active trips for both Australia and Japan. I enjoy competing in fun runs and trail runs, with my favourite being the Two Bays trail run. You can check out some of my workouts and fitness tips on my personal blog, www.getfitadventurept.com Qualifications include: Bachelor in Sport and Exercise Science, Certificates III and IV in fitness, Level 1 instructor in Mat Pilates, Wild fitness trainer, Level I and II boxing instructor, Surf instructor.

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