Why You Should Stick to Your Winter Workout

A Better Immune System

During periods of moderate exercise, our immune systems get a boost. More immune cells are produced. These cells travel through the body more quickly during times of moderate exercise. Studies show that people who exercise in moderation get fewer colds in the winter. This is one big reason to keep up with your workout in the face of snowstorms and holiday rush hours. More, however, doesn’t mean better. A high intensity exercise routine sustained for more than 90 minutes causes an increased susceptibility to those winter bugs.

Holiday Weight Control

We all know the deal, the holidays are the biggest time of the year for overeating and weight gain. There are so many temptations and opportunities to overeat. Unfortunately, this weight can be stubborn, and contributes to overall weight gain through the years. Add that to the fact that the weather is less than favorable for working out. Still, it’s worth it to plow our way through that snow and cold and continue working out this holiday season. Sticking to an exercise routine through the holidays along with a healthy eating plan helps control holiday weight gain. Try indoor mall walking, cross country skiing, ice skating or snow shoeing this winter. I keep a library of fitness videos for use when the weather foils my outdoor walking plans. A gym membership might be a good Christmas gift to hint for this year too!

Better Skin In Winter

Consistent exercise helps us achieve glowing, youthful skin. We’ve all noticed that rosy glow that comes after a brisk workout. Exercise gets our blood moving, and improves circulation and nutrient delivery to the skin. When we sweat, we rid our bodies of toxins and unclog pores. The positive benefits of exercise on stress are also responsible for better skin. Stress can cause breakouts, so controlling stress minimizes the onset of acne.

Control Seasonal Stress

It’s not all peace and joy this time of year. We are all too familiar with the stresses of the holiday season. From long store lines to juggling plans and getting things done, we are under a lot of stress this time of year. The good news is that regular exercise helps to alleviate some of this stress. This might be a good time to try out that relaxing yoga or tai chi’ class at the gym!

Less Winter Depression and SAD

Not only does moderate, regular exercise alleviate holiday stress, but it fights depression. If you exercise outside, you’ll also reap the benefits of relief from seasonal affective disorder, (SAD). You need to get out in the daylight to combat SAD, and this coupled with mood-boosting exercise is a double dose of treatment for seasonal depression. Just be sure to take that exercise break in the morning hours, since this is the recommended time of day for SAD patients to get out and enjoy more sunlight.

Winter workouts can do a lot to improve your overall health and keep the wintertime blues at bay, so be sure not to neglect that exercise routine this winter. When spring finally arrives, you won’t have anything to hide. You’ll be the first to hit the mall for a new bikini!

Resources

1. About.com: Sports Medicine: Exercise and Immunity.

2. Women’s Fitness: www.womensfitness.net.

3. Hot Exercise: "The Benefits of Exercise on the Skin.", www.hotexercise.com.

4. Wellsphere: www.stanford.wellsphere.com.

5. National Alliance on Mental Illness: www.nami.org.