Even though it can be tough to maintain a fitness routine during winter, it is important to stay active during this time. Picture: Pexels
The winter months can be brutal on your fitness routines - and keeping up the pace can be hard.

Even though many of us know that what we do in the gym is going to directly influence the results we see, it’s still hard to commit.

However studies show that summer bodies are really made in the cold winter months and that the chilly weather can be a plus when it comes to training.

Research from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands in 2013 suggests that once you’ve acclimatised, exercising in the cold burns fat quicker than at more comfortable temperatures.

This is because deposits of so-called “brown fat” are activated as the body learns to get warmer faster.

But heading to the gym can be confusing at this time of the year. You don’t know whether you should be toning or still losing more fat to be “summer ready”.

Fitness influencer Juanita Khumalo, who is passionate about health and wellness, shares a few tips to navigate your gym experience.

Upper body

You should focus on using your upper body in the gym, something many people usually avoid.

“Most focus is usually on the lower body - treadmill, cycling and step. Focusing on the upper body helps to build endurance.”

Weight training

Focus on weight training as opposed to cardio exercise only. It increases bone density and the strength of muscles, connective tissue and tendons.

Mastering the technique:

To help you stay injury-free, try to improve your form.

And when it comes to increasing weights, try to do it gradually.

Stretching

Stretching correctly before a workout is a must. Doing it again afterwards may be even more beneficial as muscles are still warm, flowing with rich, oxygenated blood.

Diet

It’s no secret that obtaining your body goals involve 80% diet and 20% exercise. It’s impossible to out- train a bad diet.

“Get your diet right and ensure that your body is in calorie deficit if weight loss is your goal. Nutrient- dense food is also necessary for the well-being of your body and affects how your body takes shape and form,” said Khumalo.

The main thing to remember is to stay active during winter, no matter what routine you choose to follow.