Snow, ice, slush, freezing temperatures, and fierce winter winds are often enough to tempt even the most resolute workout buff towards a warm blanket on a comfortable couch with a hot cup of cocoa. And it’s not just the allure of the warm indoors that makes working out hard in the winter--the weather conditions cause runners to hang up their sneakers, while baseball, soccer, and other outdoor sports are put on hold. Winter inactivity seems to be inevitable, disrupting your fitness program, causing depression, and leading to holiday weight gain.
But not all hope is lost. There are ways to keep yourself active this winter- even when you can't go outdoors. And it’s important to do so--consistent exercise will boost lymph production in your immune system to fight off winter illnesses. Some of the best ways to stay physically active throughout the cold season include the following:
1. Have an Indoor Exercise Routine
Any indoor exercises, be they sit-ups, push-ups, squats, leg-raises, or weight lifting, will burn off fat and cut down on the aches and pains that accompany a sedentary existence. Set big goals for the season, plus little goals for each day and week that move you toward the long-term ones. An exercise mat, your favorite music on an MP3 player, and exercise instructional DVDs can make the experience more pleasant and help you to keep at it all winter long.
2. Join a Gym or Health Club
The winter is the optimal time to join a gym. First of all, you’ll get your best price, as there are nearly always sign-up discounts post-summer, as well as the expected “New Year’s Resolution” sale in January. Further, choosing the right gym will allow you to best replicate your outdoor routine. If you’re a swimmer, find a gym or even a local community center with a pool; similarly, there are multiple leagues for basketball and other sports. Miss biking? Take a spin class. With treadmills, stair climbing machines, weight lifting equipment, and so much more at your disposal, you’ll probably want to stay at the gym even when you can go back outdoors.
3. Do Plenty of House Chores
In days gone by, there was little need for official exercise sessions due to the intensity of everyday chores. Today, there are still some household activities that can keep you fit and active during the winter months, while accomplishing some much-needed cleaning along the way—win-win! Sweep, mop, vacuum, wash windows and walls, and clean out the attic. You will be surprised how strenuous a day of cleaning can be, and there will be less to do when spring cleaning time arrives.
4. Don't Turn the Heat Up Too High
You certainly don't want to be constantly cold inside of your own home, but if you keep the heat on too high, you will feel more sluggish than if you keep it down at, say, 65 to 70. You will even burn more calories standing still while in colder air, because your body must work harder to keep itself warm.
5. Walk Up and Down Stairs
If your home has a tall staircase, there is no reason not to utilize it for winter fitness. Simply walking up and down the stairs several times a day will help keep you active. At work or in other public places, you can opt for the stairway instead of the elevator. Practice good breathing and posture as you ascend and descend, and push yourself to take an extra trip after you start to feel tired.
6. Take Short Walks Whenever Possible
After a snowfall, you can probably get some exercise shoveling out the driveway (carefully) and walking paths, but the rest of time, short winter walks are the main option. You can utilize the warmer, sunnier daylight hours, and you don't need to go more than a few blocks away. If you have a dog, take him along to accomplish two things at once. Be sure to dress in layers and avoid going out in sub-zero temperatures that could threaten hypothermia.
Don’t let the winter blues affect your weight loss regimen. The above six ways to keep active during the winter are only a few among many possibilities. Build the right routine for yourself to make sure you stay active, even when winter brings the outdoors to a standstill.