As we regretfully wave goodbye to some of our favorite seasons, summer and fall, we might also be waving goodbye to the fitness routines that we often used to de-stress after a long work day and keep in shape. Morning runs, walks around the neighborhood, and even hitting the gym become a pain when we have to consider the cold, wet weather waiting for us outside of our bed. Alas, as many of us know pretty well, that with holiday parties and the food and drinks associated, we still need to keep in shape and for whatever reason sleeping in just isn’t burning those calories we consume. In what is perhaps an unfair twist for many of us, winter weather not only makes us drowsier because of the shortened days but also tricks our bodies into storing more fat. This makes keeping a strong fitness routine even more essential for our moods and waistlines. In this article, we will give you our ultimate survival guide to working out when it isn’t warm, and some fun winter activities that you can try to keep your heart rate up and your fitness routine fun.
Is it all flurries and snow mounds outside your door? The idea of going running is both a chilly and slippery thought in the way back of your mind. We totally get not wanting to do your normal laps in the snow, it is both dangerous and unenjoyable. To get your 30 minutes of exercises, but also perhaps start a new hobby that lets you stay fit outdoors, we suggest a winter activity like snowshoeing or ice skating. These outdoor activities give you the perfect weekend workout to do with your friends and loved ones of almost all physical levels. Snowshoeing keeps your heart rate pumping and is relatively low-cost, just strap the snowshoe on top of your hiking boots and hit the mountains, valleys, and nearby lakes that you used to run around. Hike as long as you want, take in some scenic views and feel both the stress and the calories melt away. Ice skating is another great and affordable workout for the whole family! Whether you visit your local ice skating rink or have a pond nearby, ice skating is great cardio. What is perfect about these winter workouts is that you can adjust the level of intensity and it shakes up your normal routine. If you aren’t willing to invest in a gym pass, then invest in the outdoor gear for these fun exercises!
Let’s say you are a gym rat, and enjoy your everyday routine of arms core and legs, but the winter weather has you snuggling in bed and hitting snooze more often than you would like. To keep your fitness routine up, we suggest trying new classes. Not only is it dark outside, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still time to sleep, but it’s also incredibly chilly. Give yourself some self-motivation and get inspired with a new class, whether it is a little Vinyasa Flow yoga or a spinning class, having a structured activity with a start and end time might motivate you to grab your workout bag and hit the gym. Rope a friend into going with you, there is nothing like having someone to hold you accountable! If you find you are really struggling with your AM workouts, and that is the only time you have to workout, consider going to bed as little as 15 minutes earlier. Shut off the T.V. and the computer a full hour before bed so that your mind is less restless and allow yourself to get a little more shut-eye. The additional time will make you less drowsy in the morning and will help convince you to get up earlier. If you are able to, try having a hot beverage as you leave the door. A morning cup of coffee or tea will not only give you a bit of energy but will warm you up for the sprint to your car.
Finally, working out in the winter is all about preparedness. The old adage is, there is never bad weather, only bad preparation. If you haven’t got water proof clothing, running shoes with a bit deeper tread, or plenty of sweat proof layers, then now is the time to hit your favorite store. Waterproof pants will save your life on a snowshoeing excursion, and a beanie for the walk from your house to the car will make you feel ten times warmer. Not only that, investing in the winter wear, limits your excuses as you sit on the couch. You can still go outside if you have the right clothes. That being said, we understand those who simply do not want to brave the weather, even with six layers on. You can still keep up a good 30 or more minutes of exercise right in your home. Clear out a space in your home and get sweating! There are hundreds of options, for free, online that will take you through full body workouts, in the comfort of your own home. Just make sure to have water and enough room. It may be hard to convince yourself to unbundle, but getting a little exercise in the winter will make you not only feel better, but more alert, less drowsy during the day, and ready for the new year!
Whether you are figuring out how to layer to go ice skating or shopping online for the perfect workout at home, keep your fitness routine a priority. Winter is difficult because it limits what we can do once there is ice on the ground, but also because our bodies are naturally attempting to store more fat. Winter-proofing your workout to keep it dynamic and fun will keep you active, open yourself up to new skills and perhaps pick up a few new hobbies. You don’t have to spend a fortune to stay active in winter, you just have to take the first step in making a routine that suites the outdoor weather!