Training Through Winter

Training Through Winter

It is that time of year again. Winter is here. The first instinct is to go into hibernation, wait out the cold and return to training when it starts to warm up. Here are a few reasons why you should keep training and some tips and tricks to maintain your training regime through the winter period.

What happens to your body when you stop training?

There are many ways to measure a persons fitness levels, VO2 max is one of them and a widely used indictor for fitness. VO2 max can be defined as the body’s ability to maximally use the available oxygen inhaled by the lungs for energy, to the muscles. The more oxygen that is utilised the higher your fitness level. Once you stop exercising your body immediately starts to decrease its VO2 max. Within the first week of not exercising your VO2 max has decreased by 5%. Within the 2nd to 3rd week you have roughly lost 12% of your VO2 max, along with a decrease in muscle strength and mass, meaning you are not able to generate as much force with your muscles, and the size of your muscles decrease (known as atrophy). Within the 4th and 7th weeks there is a 15% loss in your VO2 max. In addition to this your muscles continue to decrease in muscle mass, size and increase in fatty tissue developing in your muscles. After 2 months of not exercising there is a 26% loss of VO2 max, making it more difficult to get back into shape.

An increase in fatty tissue in the body and a lack of exercise can lead to further complications down the line.

There have been links shown that the statements above can put you at risk of developing;

· High blood pressure

· High cholesterol

· Certain cardiovascular conditions

· Obesity· Depression

Tips to stay active during the winter period

Now that we know what can happen if we decide not to exercise during the colder months, it’s time to talk about what we can do to stay active. If you’re like me and dislike the cold then home workouts are a great alternative to going to the gym. According to movement coach Roger Frampton (author of ‘The Flexible Body’) not much equipment is needed to exercise. You can use household items as weights or if you planned ahead and bought a free weight set, then that is also effective. Different heights can be used to your advantage as well. A coffee table can be used to perform dips and the kitchen top could be used to increase the difficulty. A couch can be used for box jumps; the possibilities are endless when it comes to using equipment around the home to exercise.

If jumping all over your furniture for exercise is not your style, then you can do body weighted exercise without the use of equipment. The classics being: push-ups, squats, planks and burpees. Then there are variations such as split squats, side planks, diamond push ups to build up a little circuit to train both the upper half and lower half of your body, because no one likes chicken legs. A study conducted in 2013 on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) developed a circuit, which takes 7 minutes in total. It consists of 12 body weight exercise that are performed for 30 seconds each with a 10 second rest/transition period. I have performed this myself and it is quite a challenge and I highly recommend this circuit for times when you just can’t quite make it in time to the gym or can’t stand the cold outside. For increased difficulty you can perform the circuit 2-3 times.

However you decide to stay active during winter it should be about the fundamental principle of health, keep moving and enjoy it. The best way to stay active is to be active. It is also important to remember that you either use it or lose it, so don’t let all the hard work you put into your body go to waste during winter. With all this information and tips it should be impossible to stay inactive and if you have any persistent aches or pains during working out make sure to visit us at In Good Hands Chiropractic.

References: 1. Brodwin E, Gal S, Lee S. The science-backed 7-minute fitness routine is a great way to get in shape [document on the internet]. Business Insider; 2018 [cited 2018 June 22]. Available from: 2. Brueck H. The 7 best exercises for toning your body right now [document on the internet]. Business Insider; 2018 [cited on 2018 June 22]. Available from: 3. Kin G, Orwig J. This is what happens to your body when you stop exercising [document on the internet]. Business Insider; 2017 [cited 2018 June 14]. Available from: 4. Klika B, Jordan C. HIGH-INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODY WEIGHT: Maximum Results With Minimal Investments. Health Fit J. 2013;17(3); 8-13 5. Moore F. Movement coach Roger Frampton explains why exercising at home is as good as going to the gym [document on the Internet]. Business Insider; 2018 [cited 2018 June 19]. Available from: