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Staying active this winter

With winter well and truly upon us, and the shortest day of the year just past, it's easy to let your regular routine slide, and you wouldn't be the only one. But don't fret, we've got some great tips on how you can stave off the SADs, and keep your body active for the next few months. Set your self a goal - nothing motivates like a having a target to reach, so set an achievable number days per week to get out and be active. Focus on the benefits - when the alarm clock sounds, try not to think about how warm the bed feels, but instead how good you are going to feel once you get moving. Embrace the challenge - turn a negative into an opportunity, hum the Rocky theme song, pull on multiple layers (so you can remove some once you warm up) and hit the streets filled with determination. Join a club or play a winter sport - there is plenty you can do both indoor and outdoor to stay active - take up yoga, join a gym, find a heated pool, play indoor soccer, or enter a dodgeball league. Make everywhere your playground - leave the wallet at home and do some laps of the shopping centre instead, take the stairs to the top of your office building, get off the train one stop early and walk the rest of the way home. Give "home gym" a new meaning - turn your everyday chores into a fitness regime, put extra effort into the vacuuming, clean out the basement, cut extra firewood, or get the garden ready for spring. Warm up - make sure you stretch and warm up the body before doing anything too physical, to avoid muscle strain and stress. This winter remember, to be most effective, fitness activities and exercise need to be consistent. Staying active in the winter boosts your immune system by keeping the lymphatic system active, in turn making you more resilient to the seasonal cold.Exercise can also increase your energy levels, while decreasing tension, frustration, and depression. What's most important is finding ways to integrate activity into your lifestyle, so don't become a slave to the winter, but go out there and harness it. Photo: Will Ockenden via Flickr