Exercise For All Seasons

Have you ever considered why exercise is easier in certain times of the year? Or how our exercise habits vary across the seasons? Today’s blog will explore our motivation to exercise and identifying barriers that may be affecting our exercise regime.  

Cooler Months 

What things do you associate with winter; hot chocolates, curled up by the fire, comfort food and watching movies? Well this is not uncommon. Perhaps the real question lies in, what are some strategies to overcome these habits and barriers?  

  • Indoor exercise – consider indoor heated swimming pool, home exercise program using a resistance band or your own body weight, a gym or gym classes.  
  • Exercise with a friend/family member – keep accountable to one another  
  • Invest in quality clothing/garments to keep warm – gloves, beanie, tights  
  • Exercise equipment hire – local sports stores often have exercise equipment you can hire to use at home 

A common myth is “I have a cold, so I shouldn’t exercise.” In some cases, exercise is contraindicated but often, gentle exercise can be healthy when we are fighting a cold.

Things to consider are:  

  • Do I have a fever?  
  • Yes – rest is best 

  • Are my symptoms only above the neck? (runny nose, sore throat, watery eyes) 
  • Yes – light exercise should be OK 

  • Am I on anti-biotics or prescribed medication?  
  • Yes – Check with your GP 
  • Am I fatigued?  
  • Yes – start with gentle, shorter bouts of exercise  

Holidays/Travel  

‘I don’t want to exercise while I’m on holidays’, or ‘I won’t have access to any exercise equipment’ are common statements I hear from clients. If exercise is a meaningful part of your life, you will always find a way to incorporate it into your lifestyle. But for others, their motivation for exercise is not intrinsic. In these instances, simply walking can be the most convenient option. For example, if you are travelling, walking is a great way to sightsee or a means of transport. Remember, exercise doesn’t always have to be planned or structured.  

Below are some ways to overcome common barriers when holidaying:  

  • Book accommodation that has a gym or a pool  
  • Increase your incidental activity – have you done 10,000 steps today?  
  • Pack a resistance band in your luggage  
  • Do a bodyweight workout or use the local park to do exercise  
  • Incorporate the family – take the kids to the park, walk the dog, pack a picnic and take a walk  
  • Make time – exercise before you can make excuses  

Warmer Months 

Often the sun brings people out, and our motivation to exercise suddenly increases. For many, exercising in the heat is challenging or dangerous in some cases. Some quick tips to help are:  

  • Exercise earlier or later in the day – avoid the peak temperatures and high UV times  
  • Exercise in air-conditioned facilities  
  • Keep hydrated  
  • Try shorter bouts of exercise or include rest periods  
  • Wear lightweight clothing  

About the Author 

Laura Downie is an Exercise Physiologist at Physiotas in Launceston.

Laura is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Exercise Science, and with Professional Honours in Exercise Physiology from the University of Tasmania. Since graduating Laura has worked primarily in chronic disease management. She has also worked as a respiratory technician.

Laura is passionate about exercise and the role it plays in the management and prevention of various conditions. She aims to work alongside clients to achieve their goals through tailored exercise programs designed for their needs.

Laura devotes her spare time to her own athletics training and to mentoring junior athletes.