When the weather outside nips your nose and you only want to curl up under a blanket, motivating yourself to exercise can be tricky. But keeping fit over the winter months is important for staying healthy and in shape as well as keeping you in good spirits. However, exercising in the cooler weather does require a bit more planning, as the chilly temperatures make your muscles tighter and less elastic. So, a good stretch and a warm-up to mobilize your muscles are vital to steering clear of any injuries.
Before you hit the gym or head off on a stroll or jog, try these exercises to loosen everything out and get warm (without switching the radiators on!). If you're short on time or don't feel like venturing out into the cold, you could also try a few rounds of this as a mini-workout in itself.
- Start by imagining you’re in the center of a clock face. With your hands on your hips, lunge forward with your right foot to 12 o’clock, keeping your body upright and your tummy tight, and then coming back to the center.
- Now lunge to your side to 3 o’clock and then 9 o’clock in a sort of "curtsy" fashion where your right foot lunges behind your stationary left foot.
- Finally, lunge backward to 9 o’clock, before swapping to move the left foot around the clock.
- After completing this set, progress with the next ones by: Raising the opposite (straight) arm into the air above your head as you lunge around the clock; raising both arms into the air as you lunge around the clock; performing the last set again (both arms in the air), but this time, twice around the clock and a little faster.
This will engage the muscles (including your quads and glutes) that play a vital role in most of the movements that your body will make. Raising your arms will also help mobilize your shoulder joint and girdle to help you with your posture and give your upper spine a hand.
Just by moving in three different directions — forward and backward, side to side, and around — you will be engaging muscles from almost all your body, including your core. This well help you exercise more easily and hopefully dodge an injury as you launch into action.
This post was written by Yours editors. For more, check out our sister site, Yours.