It’s getting darker earlier, the days are getting colder, and the rain is becoming more frequent- all clear signs winter is coming!

I don’t know about you, but around this time of year, my motivation to exercise really drops off! So this month I thought we should explore why exercise is so good for us, how much we should be doing, and ways that we can keep our exercise routine going (or starting!) during the colder months.

Staying active and exercising is really important- it can help to reduce our risk of chronic diseases (e.g. type 2 diabetes), assist with weight management, improve heart and bone health, and (my favourite benefit) help us to relax and improve our mood!

We should all be aiming to do 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, if not all, days. To give you an idea of that level of intensity, if you can comfortably talk, but not sing while exercising, you’re doing moderate-intensity exercise (a good example is briskly walking).

When we talk about exercise, a lot of people envision extremely strenuous exercise, or believe they have to do a certain type of exercise they don’t particularly enjoy for it to be “worth it”, and therefore do nothing at all. Any exercise is better than none at all- so start small and slow, and find an activity that you enjoy! Walk with your dog, join a team sport, have a hit of tennis with a friend, or even pop a CD on at home and dance around while you’re doing the housework to get your heart rate up- it all counts!

The benefit of heading outdoors to exercise is that you’ll get a dose of vitamin D at the same time, and with rates of vitamin D deficiency increasing in Australia, that’s something we should all be aiming for. However, if it’s cold, rainy and just generally gloomy out, there’s plenty of ways to keep fit inside too! Try popping a CD on at home and dancing around while you’re doing the housework, hire or buy a fitness DVD that you can do in the comfort of your own home, or if you have a gym membership- put it to use!

Of course, if you have any specific health or injury concerns, speak to a professional (your GP, exercise physiologist or personal trainer) before commencing any exercise routine.

Rachael Thompson
Yakult Dietitian APD

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