Why end of winter is the perfect time to start a fitness journey: expert tips

Did you set a New Year's resolution to get fit in 2024? It's a common goal, and if you haven't quite kept up with it, that's okay. Winter is a fantastic time to find inspiration to kickstart your fitness journey. YouTuber Will Tennyson gives tips below to help you get started.

We get it; cold and dreary days can zap your motivation to get up and exercise. But now is always a good time to get the body moving and get out of your winter funk. 

Will Tennyson, a certified fitness trainer and renowned YouTuber in Toronto, Ont., is on a mission to inspire generations to get active, showcasing firsthand that we all start somewhere.

“We can't be perfect; I think we don't want to be perfect," explained Tennyson. "We just have to listen to our bodies every now and then. I think the more that we listen to our bodies and listen to what we need and don't need, that's where you get consistency. And again, fitness is all about the long term.”

Tennyson says people generally tend to start a weight loss transformation for two reasons: it's either for their health or they're just not happy with themselves.

"I was always on the heavier side my entire childhood," he added. "I wasn't happy with how I looked; I'd always not want to go to the pool, so I’d keep my shirt on. So that's what kind of motivated me to start."

YouTuber Will Tennyson gives workout tips to help you kickstart your fitness journey

Will Tennyson, a certified fitness trainer, provides useful advice to over two million subscribers on his YouTube channel. (The Weather Network)

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SEE ALSO: Winter increases your blood pressure, what you can do to stay healthy

Exercise not only improves mobility but also boosts mood. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about 15 per cent of Canadians experience winter blues due to cold weather, yet just 15 minutes of outdoor activity can reduce stress and elevate vitamin D levels, which helps boost your mood and alleviate brain fog. 

But with all of the proven health benefits of exercising indoors and outdoors, why can it still feel like a difficult task to stick with?

None of us are immune to the challenging aspects of just starting a new habit. At first, it took Tennyson countless attempts at initiating a gym routine before something in his brain 'clicked.' 

Now he shares his passion in hopes of inspiring others to take their first steps towards leading a healthier lifestyle, even if it takes several tries to get there.

“I want to be a friend for people, because that’s what I needed back then... Just because you’re not happy with where you are doesn’t mean you can’t change; that’s very much what I thought, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Tennyson said. 

But with all the fitness advice available at our fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

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Tennyson's biggest recommendation is to don’t dive in too quickly. Instead of picking up the heaviest weights or seeking out gym equipment, take up walking instead. 

"I think people think working out is life-consuming, that you have to go from zero to 100, work out seven days a week, and do hours of cardio. It’s far from that," Tennyson said. "I think less is more. Focus on your small wins throughout the week, and steps, steps, steps. I think that’s the king of getting in general shape. It’s the best way to get started."

Getty images: fitness, walking, exercise in winter, hike, friends

Walking is 'king' of getting in general good shape, says Tennyson (Getty Images/stock photo)

Whether you’re walking while brushing your teeth or opting to take the stairs, Some health experts recommend daily step goals of 10,000 steps for adults and 12,000 steps for youths to achieve healthy, active living. 

The Government of Canada also recommends embarking on ‘mood walks’ as a way to improve both physical and mental health. A health report in June 2022 reported that:

“Research has found a 90‑minute walk in a natural setting can be a form of therapy that has mental health benefits. By participating in a nature walk of any kind you can boost your mood and reduce overthinking.”

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Benefits of physical activity

To achieve optimal health, Canadians of all ages need to move more and sit less throughout the day, according to Canada's health experts.

Physical activity helps healthy growth and development:

  • gives us energy

  • decreases stress

  • makes us stronger

  • prolongs independence as we age

Physical activity also helps prevent these chronic diseases:

  • cancer

  • obesity

  • hypertension

  • heart disease

  • type 2 diabetes

And if you fear judgment in fitness spaces, just remember:

“Nobody cares how you look; it doesn’t matter. It’s all about how you feel on the inside and if you are a happy person. I’ve tried so many times, and I failed. But just that one time, I just decided to stick with it. And then it led me here, and you're going to be so happy you did it,” Tennyson explained. 

Embarking on a more active routine during the winter months may initially feel daunting and uninspiring. However, there's no better time than now to commence your fitness journey. Exercising outdoors not only enhances your mood but also contributes to improved mobility and a feeling of self-assurance. Fostering a sense of confidence that extends to various aspects of your life.