• Why Exercising in Cold Weather is Good for your Health

    Who agrees that the cold weather makes them feel lethargic and deters your motivation to go outside?

    So, before you pull over the blankets or curl up by the fire to watch your favourite TV show, you should consider the benefits of cold-weather workouts.

    While many people avoid the cold, outdoor winter workouts are a great way to take in small doses of winter sunshine. This sunlight can help to improve your mood plus helps with Vitamin D intake.

    Winter exercise also boosts immunity. A few minutes a day can help to prevent simple bacterial and viral infections. Plus, who agrees about how nice it is to get some fresh air after being indoors with central heating.

    Working out in the cold has many advantages over warmer weather workouts. There is no heat or humidity to deal with in the colder weather. The winter's chill may even make you feel more awake, refreshed and invigorated. In the cold your body can regulate its temperature a little better. therefore, this means you can often exercise longer and/or at a higher intensity and potentially burn more calories.

    So, before you head outside to exercise follows these safety tips:-

    1. Check weather conditions - Temperature, wind and moisture, along with the length of time that you will be outside are key factors when planning a safe cold-weather workout. Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even with warm clothing.

    2. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia - Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. Symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. Seek help immediately for Hypothermia.

    3. Layer clothing – Wear layers so that you can remove as you start to sweat and put back on as needed.

    4. Protect your head, hands, feet and ears – When it is cold, blood flow is concentrated in your body’s core, leaving your head, hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite. Make sure you cover up these areas.

    5. Medical conditions – Those with medical conditions should check with their doctor to review any special precautions based on their condition or medication(s). Asthma suffers should also be aware of the risks of colder weather. Cold, dry air can hurt the lungs and may trigger an asthma attack.

    6. Safety gear – If it is dark when you exercise outdoors, wear reflective clothing. Wear a helmet when skiing and snowboarding. Plus, it is still important to apply sunscreen (especially at the snow).

    7. Drink plenty of fluids – Drink water or sports drink before, during and after your workout, even if you aren’t thirsty. Hydration is just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat.


    Walking just 30mins each day is one of the BEST and EASIEST things you can do for your health.

    Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training

    You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. Some of the benefits include:_

    * Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness

    * Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke

    * Improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes

    * Stronger bones and improved balance

    * Increased muscle strength and endurance

    * Reduced body fat.

    To get the health benefits, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.

    If it’s too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at one time, do regular small bouts (10 minutes) three times per day and gradually build up to longer sessions. However, if your goal is to lose weight, you will need to do physical activity for longer than 30 minutes each day. You can still achieve this by starting with smaller bouts of activity throughout the day and increasing these as your fitness improves.

    Physical activity built into a daily lifestyle plan is also one of the most effective ways to assist with weight loss and keep weight off once it’s lost.

    Some suggestions to build walking into your daily routine include:

    * Take the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).

    * Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home.

    * Walk (don’t drive) to the local shops.

    * Walk the dog (or your neighbour’s dog).

    Try to make walking a routine – for example, try to walk at the same time each day. Remember, you use the same amount of energy, no matter what time of day you walk, so do what is most convenient for you. You may find that asking someone to walk with you will help make it a regular activity. Some people find that keeping an activity diary or log also makes it easier. The recommended number of steps accumulated per day to achieve health benefits is 10,000 steps or more.

    For most people, there is little difference in the amount of energy used by walking a kilometre or running a kilometre – it’s just that walking takes longer. Plan to cover a set distance each day and monitor how long it takes you to walk this distance. As your fitness improves, you will be able to walk a longer distance and use more energy.

    Walking fast burns more kilojoules per hour than walking slowly, but this doesn’t mean you have to push yourself until you’re breathless. Instead, pace yourself so that you can still talk. This simple rule of thumb means that you walk safely within your target heart rate, which brings about health gains.

    Our bodies tend to get used to physical activity, so continue to increase your intensity as you are able to improve your fitness levels. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:

    * walking up hills

    * walking with hand weights

    * increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking

    * increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace

    * walking for longer.

    Things to remember:-

    * Walking for 30 minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health.

    * If you can’t manage 30 minutes a day, remember ‘even a little is good, but more is better’.

    * Walking with others can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion.

    * See your doctor for a medical check-up before embarking on any new fitness program, particularly if you are aged over 40 years, are overweight or haven’t exercised in a long time.

  • How to Burn Fat and Build Muscle

    Muscle and fat are different types of tissue. Muscle is an ‘active’ tissue which keeps your metabolism high and burning calories, even when you sleep. The more you move your muscles, the harder they work and the more you burn.

    Fat is the opposite. It is not metabolically active therefore it doesn’t burn calories, however its is vital for your body. A healthy layer of fat will help keep you warm, protect your organs and keeps your body functioning.

    The key to burning fat and building muscle is ensuring you have enough of the ‘good’ stuff via a balanced diet.

    Protein helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, plus helps to build and repair muscle. Aim for approx 25% of your diet to be protein, especially after exercising.

    Fat also keeps you fuller for longer and slows your appetite and provides your body with essential fatty acids. Aim for around 30% of your diet to be fat, however consume healthy fats (unsaturated or mono-saturated) that are found in foods like avocado, salmon and nuts.

    Then there are Carbohydrates in which should make up approx 45% of your diet. Carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your workouts and keep your energy levels topped up. However, stick to unprocessed whole grain carbs. Sweet potatoes are a great choice as they are slow-releasing, loaded with fibre and contain lots of vitamins and antioxidants.

    Lastly, don’t forget your fruits and vegetables and staying hydrated with water. Snacking on fruits like apples, capsicum, carrot sticks, celery etc will help keep you full, boost muscle strength and aid fat loss.

    Exercise is also ESSENTIAL. Running to burn fat and improve fitness is great, but to build more muscle add strength or resistance training 2-4 times a week. Make sure you include multi-joint exercises like squats, burpee’s, kettlebell swings etc.

    Remember the more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate, therefore the faster you burn fat. Plus having a day off training each week will help your body repair your muscles and fight off fatigue. And sleep is vital for good health so get plenty of rest.

  • Happy Valentines Day - Tips For Better Heart Health

    1. Stay active - The key to heart health is to keep moving and aim to get your heart rate up with at least 30minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week. However, any movement will be good for your heart, so keep moving and stay active.

    2. Limit your consumption of red meat, sugar and unhealthy fats - Add fruits and vegetables to your diet to increase your fibre consumption.

    3. Reduce your salt intake - You can re-train your taste buds to become accustomed to a lower sodium diet.

    4. Stop smoking - Smoking not only damages your lungs, it also negatively affects your heart health. Breaking that smoking habit is essential for your overall health.

    5. Keep your weight under control - Obesity increases the risk of heart attacks, heart failure and diabetes. A healthy diet with portion control and regular exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy weight.

    6. Know your cholesterol levels - High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. If you have not had your cholesterol levels checked in the past few years, get them checked to find out if you are at risk of heart disease.

    7. Know your blood pressure - High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

    8. Know your blood sugar levels - Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes, a strong risk factor for heart disease.

    9. Reduce stress - Stress is a strong risk factor for heart disease, especially for women. Try meditation, yoga, reading a book, or being silent and still for 10minutes a day. Be mindful of stress in your life and how you can reduce it, to take extra care of your heart.

    10. Drink less alcohol - Limit your weekly alcohol intake. Tips to cut down on alcohol - Have regular alcohol free nights; alternate your alcoholic drinks with water or plain mineral water; dilute alcoholic drinks with plain mineral water, soda water or diet soft drinks; use only half measures of spirits; choose a low alcohol or light beer; choose a low-alcohol wine; when you are thirsty drink cold water instead of alcohol, and keep a jug of water on the table with your meals.

    11. See your doctor regularly - Regular medical follow-up is one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease

  • Summer Bodies Are Made in The Winter

    If you want this summer to be the summer you feel amazing in your swimmers, t-shirts, strappy dress or short shorts then start focusing on it now. It’s not about being skinny but it is about looking and feeling your best. When we look and feel our best, it feels like we are on top of the world, we are confident and can achieve our dreams.

    So how do you start working on that summer body when all you want to do is curl up under the covers inside? The answer is to look at what you need to do over the next six months and break it down to what you would like to achieve monthly. This long-term approach will not only bring you results but it will ensure they are long lasting.

    Here are some tips: -

    1. Positive image - Do you have a photo of yourself that you’d like to get back to? Or perhaps an image of someone you feel is the epitome of health. Put it somewhere you can see to help you focus on the health and fitness goals you set.

    2. Focus on habits that will get you there - Consistently eating a healthy breakfast, reducing stress, exercising, cutting out chocolate or alcohol etc. Don’t worry about getting these all right at once. Choose one until it’s a habit and then add another.

    3. Find support - If you don’t currently have people in your life that can help you, then look to join a group such as a walking group, dance class, Gym, Personal Trainer etc. as everyone have tough days and need some moral support.

    4. Buy new exercise clothes - Look good, feel good! Try buying some new exercise clothes. Everyone loves shopping, and exercising will give you a great excuse to buy and wear new items.

    5. Try a Fitness Class - Can't seem to motivate yourself on your own? It's a lot easier to keep going when there's someone motivating you to move.

    6. Find an exercise partner – You can encourage each other to exercise, plus set goals together, which can even make it fun (i.e. compare how many steps you walk each day)

    7. Get on a mat - If vigorous activity isn't your thing, why not try Yoga or Pilates? It not only helps you improve your physical and core strength, but your emotional and mental health as well.

    8. Hop on a bike - Do you hate cardio? Why not try a RPM/Spinning, as these classes will actually get you wanting to move your body!

    9. Don't focus on the number on the scale - Too many people get disgruntled by the number on the scale and give up because they aren't immediately seeing the results they want or think they deserve. If you want to set a goal, check your weight in the beginning, but don't let that number drive you. Be happy and motivated by what you look like in the mirror, not the number on a scale.

    10. Fight the weather - If you are one of those people who stays close to lounge after you get home from work, you're not alone. To fight the urge to stay inside, pack a gym bag and bring it to work. You're already out for the day, so you really have no excuse to skip the gym.

    11. If you're hungry, eat! - The biggest mistake people make is starving themselves. If you do this, all you're doing is slowing down your metabolism! Just remember portion control. The longer you starve yourself, the greater your chances of a binge later on.

    12. Hit an area you've never targeted before - Are you always running on the treadmill? Why not pick up some weights and see what those do for your body. Once you start noticing changes in places you don't typically target, you'll be addicted to the results.

    13. Start being active on the weekends - Stop wasting your weekends, these work-free days are perfect for doing what you couldn't during the week. So why not dedicate at least one hour to making yourself feel better.

    14. Make a schedule - The best way to create a routine is to make and stick to a schedule. Get out the diary and book in exercise time.

    15. Strip your fridge - You can't out-exercise a bad diet, so reinventing your refrigerator is a necessary step when getting into shape. Get rid of all the bad things you know you shouldn't be eating/drinking and replace with fresh fruits, Greek yogurt, vegetables, lean protein etc.

    16. Learn to cook foods you enjoy eating. - Buying healthy food is only step one. You need to buy things you actually like eating. An issue many people have is after they finish preparing a meal, they are still hungry and, as a result, they eat whatever they can get their hands on. You can avoid this by preparing meals designed to feed you, with lots of lean proteins and complex carbs.

    17. Plan a holiday - It's hard to keep yourself motivated if you have nothing to look forward to, which is why planning a holiday can help get the ball rolling. Just make sure not to fall back into your bad habits once the holiday is over.

    18. Keep up maintenance on the rest of your body. - Look good, feel good. If you are keeping up with the rest of your appearance, you are only going to want your body to match. So, don't skip those trips to the nail or hair salon. Feeling good is just as important as looking good, and your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

    19. Work out at home - There are lots of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home if you don't feel like going to a gym. Facebook and YouTube have lots of videos and workout ideas. Or arrange for a Personal Trainer to come to your home.

    20. Find a way to be accountable - Sign up for classes with a cancellation fee and you'll be penalized for skipping; find an exercise partner who won't take let your excuses be a reason to miss a session; or set a realistic goal that you know you can actually achieve in a reasonable timeframe (i.e. don't aim to drop 5kg by next Thursday).

    It’s easy to hit the snooze button when your alarm is beeping at you on an early chilly winter morning and you’re snuggled up in bed. However, with a little bit of willpower and determination, you can achieve and maintain that fit and healthy body you desire.

    All of the above tips will help you to stick to your routine. Remember: You're doing this for you, so you're only cheating yourself.


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© Karen Plested 2016. Site by sasparellah

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