12 May 2018

Health experts are urging the community to stay active by exercising for at least 30 minutes on most days to keep the extra kilos at bay in the cooler months.

On the back of worldwide studies showing people putting on weight when seasons change, Professor of Medicine in the Department of Endocrinology at St Vincent’s Hospital Katherine Samaras has urged people in NSW not to fall for the same trap.

“The hibernation pattern of animals such as bears is well known but people don’t always think about how their habits change too when temperatures drop,” Prof Samaras said.

“The winter months cause changes to our internal biological clocks – our circadian rhythms – which affects how we sleep and when we wake, our metabolism, our desire to be outdoors and even perhaps our desire for richer foods.”

“In the US, studies indicate people commonly put on 2-3kgs in autumn and winter. We don’t have specific data on seasonal inactivity in Australia, but our experience is likely to be similar and for some people those small gains each year will accumulate.”

Obesity is a serious public health issue with one in two adults in NSW being overweight or obese.

In 2017-18, the NSW Government committed $31 million to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity in NSW, $19 million of which has been allocated to the delivery of the Premier’s priority to reduce childhood overweight and obesity.

Professor Samaras said the community would do well to embrace cooler temperatures, instead of reacting to them with high heating and too many layers of clothing.

“Just being in cooler temperatures activates the body to warm us up - which in turn helps burn kilojoules,” she said.

Everyone knows that physical activity is good for your health and wellbeing. But you don’t need to run a marathon for it to be beneficial. Small amounts of exercise can make a big difference to your health.

Simple tips to keep unwanted extra winter kilos at bay are:

  • be active every day
  • sit less and move more, you’ll burn more kilojoules
  • plan ahead – get your exercise clothes ready the night before
  • choose smaller portions richer winter foods
  • remember, it’s ok to be cool
  • up the H20 to stay hydrated
  • seek further information and support from your own personal health coach through the free NSW Health Get Healthy Service.

For more information visit Get Healthy Service.