Nine reasons to encourage employees to exercise this winter

It is easy to go into hibernation mode in Winter and trying to avoid the outdoors. However, it is the most important time of the year to exercise as people spend a lot of time lazing around and eating higher calorie foods. Regular physical activity is always beneficial, it’s never too late to start getting fitter and if you want to live your healthiest life you best get started soon.

  • Help beat the winter blues

We all like staying wrapped up and warm inside when it’s winter, however, the cold weather can leave you feeling a little bit blue and lost. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a form of depression that looms over people from September to April.

Physical activity can help relieve anxiety and improve your mood, which is all thanks to the levels of ‘feel good’ chemicals, endorphins and serotonin produced whilst exercising. Regular exercise can distract you from anxious thoughts as it increases your endorphins levels and worrying thoughts begin to diminish, allowing you to feel more relaxed and your attention focused elsewhere.

  • A healthy heart is a happy heart

Did you know that every year 74,000 people die from coronary heart disease and 41,000 people from a stroke? Exercising is a simple way to keep your heart in shape and reduce your risk of heart disease or a stroke. Taking an hour out of your day to workout can help keep high cholesterol and blood pressure at bay, which lowers the stress on your heart and reduces the bad type of cholesterol (LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein) that clogs your arteries. A more active lifestyle can also strengthen your heart muscles and the ability to pump more blood throughout your body.

 Keep off the winter comfort weight

It’s no secret that exercising helps prevent excessive weight gain and helps you lose a couple of pounds. People tend to eat more in the colder months and with all of the delicious seasonal treats, winter is the most important time to workout. Physical activity burns calories, the more you exercise the more calories you burn and the more you can work off your body fat, thus kicking your metabolism into gear. Inactivity is a killer and claims 676,000 lives every year, which is why exercise is essential in order to maintain a healthy life and weight.

  • Reduces the risk of cancer

Did you know that every year around 3,400 cases of cancer in the UK could be prevented by keeping active? Being more fit can help lower the risk of colon cancer by up to 50% and 20% for breast cancer, it can also hinder the development of womb cancer. Physical activity helps minimise the cancer risk by helping control weight, improving hormone levels and immune system function. It reduces the risk of breast and womb cancer by lowering the levels of oestrogen (hormones), which fuel the developments of the two diseases.

  • Helps prevent getting pesky winter colds

Winter often brings with the cold temperature an invasion of germs, colds and sickness bugs. Whilst it is impossible to be immunised against a cold, regular exercise can help improve your immune system by boosting the cells in your body that fight bacteria and viruses. This means your immune system is better equipped to tackle the bacteria that makes you ill. However, people need to be cautious to not exercise excessively as your body needs rest and you could actually hurt your immune system in doing too much. Being more active means, you will get fewer colds, less prone to the dreaded flu and it will fight off harmful diseases.

  • Strengthens muscles, bones and joints

Your muscles get stronger as you use them, therefore staying active will allow you to move more easily and avoid injury. One in three people in the UK have lower back pain each year, however, those more active are less likely to get it as strong muscles and ligaments lower the risk. Maintaining good muscles and bone strength throughout life is vital to being in good health and preventing serious injuries, especially since you lose 1% of bone strength per year as our bodies get older. Training with weights for instance can improve the function of your muscles and sustain strong bones.

  • Exercise boosts your thinking ability

December can be a very hectic and busy month with Christmas fast approaching, meaning less important tasks get forgotten or dropped off of your list. Being more active increases the production of cells in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory and learning. Exercising frequently can boost concentration levels and cognitive ability, meaning your intellectual skills benefit from it. A recent study showed that people who work out in their workday were 23% more productive on those days than when they didn’t exercise.

  • Minimises the threat of type 2 diabetes

The UK is estimated to have four million people living with diabetes and it is expected to rise to five million by 2025. Type 2 diabetes has been growing at a rapidly fast rate and is one of the world’s most common long-term health problems.

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Exercising more often can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 50%, as it increases when you become overweight or obese. Regular physical activity can help keep blood glucose levels within the person’s target range, controlling their body’s sensitivity to insulin and lower blood pressure.

  • It can be fun

You can tailor exercising to suit your own preferences, location, price range and motivational needs. Going to a gym can allow you to be more social and with the wide variety of classes provided now there are lots of opportunities to meet new people whilst having fun. Once in a routine you will forget the initial hump and may even find it rewarding. You can also save money on gym memberships with Incorpore where employees can find the most convenient gym for them at a discounted rate, not cutting into family fun time or making it stressful.