Q: I promised myself I’d start exercising in January to shed those Christmas pounds, but the weather’s been so horrible that I haven’t really had the chance to get outside. How can I exercise without having to brave the cold and rain? 

– Lucy, Worcestershire

A: You’re not alone, Lucy! January is typically the coldest month of the year in the UK, and one of the wettest. For this reason, many of those with the best intentions find their new exercise regieme falls by the wayside. However, we’re on hand to ensure you can still reach your goals from the comfort of a centrally-heated room.

The benefits of regularly exercising are numerous; it can increase your fitness, help with weight loss, lower the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and it can even boost your mood. The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, coupled with strength exercises designed to work the whole body on at least two occasions per week. However, you don’t necessarly need to be doing 5k runs or 20k cycles to meet your exercise goals!

If you’ve got the motivation, discipline and space, exercising in your own home can be a great option – especially if you’re short on time or have to take into consideration things like childcare. You can get a decent workout without the need for a full set of gym equipment or even an exercise DVD, as demonstrated by these search results for ‘home workout’. Start by doing some research into the best workout for your exercise goals, and find a regieme that suits your requirements. Print this off or write it down so you have a copy to hand, and schedule some time in to exercise! Try and find a regular slot where you know you won’t be disturbed and make sure you choose an exercise plan that works with your current schedule rather than trying to rearrange your time – you’ll find it much easier to stick to it if you do this.

Some people may prefer to travel to a local gym, where they can take advantage of the range of equipment on offer. Many gyms offer new members a free training session, enabling them to meet with an experienced personal trainer who can put them on the right path to reach their goals, with the option to undertake regular sessions if required. Most gyms also host a wide range of classes, which can be another great way of ensuring you’re exercising on a regular basis. Why not take a friend a long with you so you can support one another?

Swimming is another form of indoor exercise (though we can’t promise you’ll stay dry), and it’s something a lot of us know how to do following lessons when we were young. It’s also a great option for those who have joint problems that rule out running or cycling as the water takes a lot of the stress off the body.

Finally, why not combine socialising and exercising and join a club? Many local leisure centres offer indoor facilities for sports such as tennis, badminton, netball, rock climbing or five-a-side football, so you can make friends and get fit at the same time. You can often make a regular booking for a court, for example, ensuring you have the means and motivation to go every week, and going with other people means your partner or teammates will hold you accountable if you don’t turn up. Why not unleash your competitive spirit and burn some calories in the process?

Don’t forget, if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask the team, you can email us atask@thephysiotherapypartners.co.uk.

photo credit: Heidemarie Couch, CIV (8) via photopin (license)