With the cold looming outside winter has become a time of year where all exercise and fitness routines seem to migrate north for the winter, and await the warmer months to return. This however should not be the case as fitness during the winter months is just as important as any other time of year. There are also great benefits to exercising in the cold, when exercising in the cold our bodies use more energy this means that we burn more kilojoules. Further more regular exercise helps boost the immune system and this helps us fend winter colds and flu's.


Instead of bundling away in hibernation for the winter use this time to get out with your entire family take up a hobby or activity that everybody can enjoy. Games that encourage physical activity, ice-skating or taking a stimulating brisk walk along the beach are some ideas. Regular exercise helps to control your weight, boost your immune system and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house.

A helpful tip in coordinating such activities is by knowing age appropriate activities, for all members of the family.

Children and young people: Children and young people should do at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day. At least twice a week, this should include activities that strengthen bone and muscles, and increase flexibility.

This can be achieved in bouts of activity throughout the day, including:

  • playing during school breaks
  • walking to and from school
  • PE classes
  • sport
  • bike rides

Adults: For general


, adults should do a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, at least five days a week. You can achieve this by doing all the activity in one session or through shorter bouts of 10 minutes or more.

It can include:

  • walking or cycling part of your journey to work
  • using the stairs
  • doing manual tasks

Your routine could include two to three more intense sessions, such as a sporting activity, the gym or swimming. During the weekend, consider:

  • longer walks
  • biking
  • swimming
  • sports activities
  • DIY
  • Gardening
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Older people

The recommendations for adults also apply to older people. The elderly should take particular care to keep moving and maintain their mobility through daily activity. Activities that boost strength, co-ordination, balance and endurance are of particular benefit.

Suggested activities include daily:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • DIY
  • gardening


Take all small opportunities to be active, such as taking the stairs or doing manual tasks. On weekends, consider longer walks, biking or swimming. When exercising in winter it is important to warm up before undertaking any form of exercise as the bodies temperature is lower in the colder months. Without stretching it becomes easier to cramp or pull a cold muscle. Just because it is cold it does not mean that you can't become dehydrated as you do in summer so remember to drink a lot of water. Whenever exercise is stopped or paused for any longer than a couple of minutes, take off any wet clothes as soon as possible and put on a jacket and tracksuit pants to avoid getting a chill.

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