Brrr. Baby it’s cold outside! Let me just hibernate. I think we can all agree that once the temperatures start to drop, it is so much easier to come up with excuses to not exercise and stay active. However, during the winter months is usually when we should be more active. Not only it is helpful to stay healthy all year long, but it helps keep off the extra weight from all the food we eat during the holidays, not to mention the mood boosting effects exercise has to help ward off the winter time blues.
Find ways to keep yourself motivated and make it fun! Here are some ideas to help keep you active and staying fit during the winter months:
1. Strength in numbers.
If going to the gym by yourself is not motivation enough during these cold, dark months, then find a workout partner, or a couple of friends to join you and hold each other accountable for going. It is much easier to go when you know someone else is counting on you to help motivate them as well.
If your peer group is not up for joining you, look into joining classes at your gym and meet others in your class to hold you accountable. It’s a bit of a win-win when you can workout and meet new people!
Or you can join a CrossFit gym. Now, do not be intimidated by the sound of CrossFit. I had gone to a CrossFit gym for over 7 years. Everything can be scaled down or modified to fit your fitness level and needs. There is also a strong sense of community and family when you join a box. Everyone cheers you on and even asks where you have been if you are MIA for a while. Your fellow members and even your coaches become your motivation to keep coming in and hold you accountable.
2. Get creative at home.
Bundle up and go for a walk a couple times a day. Walk around the block before stopping at the mailbox to get you mail every day. Going shopping? Walk up and down each isle and the perimeter of the store for some extra steps. Or walk a lap around the mall before you stop into the stores for your holiday gift buying. If you own a dog, take the pup for a 15-20 minute walk in the morning, during lunch time, after dinner, and again before bed. Each little bit adds up to at least an hour of walking a day! Plus, your dog will benefit from the fresh air and exercise, too.
Make house cleaning chores a weekly workout. Ok, so cleaning the house is not the most fun, but it can be a nice little workout. If you are housebound due to the weather, what better excuse to get some much-needed cleaning done? Dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping the floors all in one day can be a nice little workout. Spend another day scrubbing the bathrooms and kitchen clean. If that is not challenging enough for you, add extra exercises into the mix. Do some sit-ups, push-ups, air squats, jumping jacks, etc. before and after each task. Do jumping jacks for a minute. Dust the house. Do air squats for a minute. Vacuum the carpets. Do a minute of sit-ups. Sweep the hard surface floors. Do a minute of push-ups. Mop the floors. Stretch your muscles and drink some water to recover.
Pop in a work out video or find one on the internet. There are plenty of exercise videos out there to own. There is also a plethora of free internet-based workouts for you to take advantage of as well. Whether you YouTube it, or subscribe to an app, you can find fun workouts that you can do at home that range from 10 minutes to 75 minutes. So if I’m on a time crunch, I can do a shorter workout one day and do another longer one another day. Or do a couple of different ones back to back. Lots of options so you don’t get bored doing the same routine over and over. There are also some fun dance themed videos out there. Whether it’s a Zumba based workout or a learn how to Salsa video, start it up and get moving!
Got snow on the ground? Grab the shovel and start shoveling! Shovel off your front steps, the walk way, your driveway, and the sidewalk in front of your home. Feel like you need a little more? Keep going and be a helpful neighbor and offer to shovel their walkways and driveways too! You will be warm in no time with the nice workout.
3. Get outside for some snow fun.
Whether it is in your own neighborhood or up in the mountains, take full advantage of the snow! Bundle up and go have fun with some common winter activities that are also a great workout!
Sledding. No skill required! Take the kids or be a big kid yourself and slide down the snowy hills. The way down is so much fun, and the climb back up is a nice workout that will get your heart pumping.
Hit the trails for a hike or some snowshoeing! Hiking isn’t just for warm weather. The snow makes for some magical landscapes and walking or snowshoeing through the snow adds a little more intensity to the activity. Make sure you bring snacks and plenty of water with you. It will zap you a lot faster than you realize.
Grab some skis or a snowboard. Whether you go snowboarding, downhill skiing, or cross-country skiing, these fun winter time sports make for a fun day of activity that will work your muscles and get your heart rate going.
Go ice skating. Indoor or outdoor, ice skating is a great way to get some exercise in. Go solo or with others. Glide and twirl to your hearts content.
Play in the snow. Make snow angels, snowmen, igloos, or have a playful snowball fight with others. Let your inner child out and have fun! It beats sitting on the couch all day.
When the weather outside it frightful, and they days short and dark, do not make that an excuse to neglect getting some fitness in. Staying active will help keep you healthy, help manage your stress levels, and give you the feel-good endorphins boost that you need to keep you going this winter.
What are some ways that you stay fit during the winter months?