General health

How to build your winter resilience

...20 minutes at a time


Forget waiting for the new year

There's no time like the present and autumn is the perfect time to set into motion health and wellbeing habits that will last through the winter months and beyond. While the days are getting shorter and cooler, we're not yet at the point when it seems to be perpetually dark, damp and cold.

It's important to start your habits before it gets to this point, otherwise even the idea of going outside will put you off.

Enjoy what autumn has to offer

There is so much enjoyment in being active outdoors at this time of year, with the colours of the autumn leaves and the days still pleasantly mild. Can't think of what you could do, here's a list to inspire:

  1. Go jogging in the forest
  2. Explore a nearby forest and enjoy the sights and sounds of the leaves crunching beneath your feet. Even better, get into the routine with a friend and enjoy the fresh air (and a hot drink after) together!
  3. Get out on your bike
  4. Riding regularly throughout the autumn season means you'll be able to watch the leaves change from green to gold all around you. You'll also find cycle routes are less busy this time of year so you can ride at your own pace.
  5. Dive in!
  6. Face the elements and get into some water sports this autumn. Whether you try outdoor swimming in a pool or river, or fancy something completely different like paddle boarding or canoeing, exploring the depths is an incredibly beneficial form of exercise. Just make sure you have a nice dry towel waiting for you!

Feel the long term benefits

A 2015 study by scientists at Chosun University in South Korea suggests that regular exercise may strengthen our body’s immune system. When we exercise, our body naturally produces a mild and harmless inflammatory response. Regular exercise may encourage our body to recognise this response and refine its recovery process.

The result is an immune system that may respond more quickly and effectively to invading germs, like those that cause flu or the common cold. In addition, regular exercise encourages fat loss which in turn lowers our inflammatory response to illness, and lowers your risk for cardiac disease and stroke.

This winter with Covid still circulating, plus cold and flu set to rise with our increased intermixing since the start of the pandemic, a good immune response becomes ever more vital.

How much exercise will build a healthy winter immune system?

Current UK government guidelines for exercise are 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity. This can be broken down into:

As a rough guideline, moderate intensity exercise should have you opening your mouth to breathe while you are exercising, but still be able to speak in complete sentences (so you can still chat while you jog!).

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