How to Exercise in the Winter

How to Exercise in the Winter

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    You’ve finally gotten into an exercise routine. Whether it’s before or after work, you live for the fresh air whilst you jog through the neighborhood or play tennis with friends. You’re proud of yourself for getting your heart rate up once a day, and you’re loving the results. And then, mother nature hits. Temperatures start dropping, as do the number of friends who want to join you in that tennis match. After all, tennis matches start to lose all appeal when you feel like an icicle. And to make matters worse, just as your workouts begin to decrease, the season of eggnog and family feasts begins. Fortunately, though the situation may look as bleak as the winter sky, you do not have to end all hope of being fit before spring.

    Layer it up!

    If there ever was a time to invest a little extra in workout gear, it would definitely be winter. If you’re adamant about remaining outside and refuse to be confined to working out indoors, “warming up” your fitness clothes might be your solution for winter. Look for clothing that regulates temperature, keeping you warm while not letting you get too hot. You want to find clothing that is lightweight enough for sweat to evaporate, so that you stay dry. If in doubt, ask a sales assistant! Also, make sure that your tennis shoes are not too worn; depending on where you live, ice could be a factor in your jogging route. Keep in mind that even if the rest of your body is covered, you can still lose a lot of body heat if your head is not. Find a comfortable hat that covers yours ears, and you should be good to go. If you want to give yourself a boost of warmth before facing the outdoors, throw your clothes in the dryer for just a few minutes prior to leaving. Exercise away!

    Try out that gym you’ve been thinking about for months

    Remember those gym fliers you keep getting in the mail? If it will keep you from abandoning all exercising and hibernating for the winter, then a gym membership can be a worthwhile investment. Look for gyms near your home or place of work. If it’s not out of your way, you’ll be much more likely to go. Or, go for the buddy system and find a gym that a friend likes so that you can go together. A pool, basketball courts, and racquetball courts are more perks that a lot of gyms have. Many gyms also offer a wide range of classes free with membership, from yoga to standard aerobics to Brazilian dance. Keeping your workout mixed up and trying new kinds of exercise are great ways to add some excitement to your routine and to avoid burnout.

    Enjoy your favorite winter sports

    Through modern technology, we can go ice skating or play hockey any time of the year, but there’s something about cold weather that makes being on ice in the winter even more fun. Though probably not an everyday routine for most, a day or two of ice skating can be an excellent way to escape the winter workout doldrums. It burns lots of calories and is a great way to tone your legs. If you’re into being a little more competitive, many cities have community hockey leagues. Planning on taking a winter vacation? A day skiing at the slopes is yet another winter calorie-blaster. You’ll never know you’re getting exercise!

    Turn your home into a gym

    If a gym membership sounds too expensive and weekend ice skating is not going to be nearly enough, you can always bring the gym to your own house or apartment. All you need is a TV and a few workout tapes. And, luckily, there is truly an endless variety of these available. You can do Salsa or learn ballet, all from your living room. Waiting on those videos you ordered to arrive? Look through all of the magazines that have been most likely laying around your house since summer. Almost every women’s magazine contains some kind of workout. Start cutting these out and start a notebook. Then, whenever your routine gets a little boring, you can always pull out something new. Just make sure that your family members or roommates know about your workout time; having people continually walking in and interrupting can be very distracting.

    Find other ways to be active

    Along with finding an exercise routine that you can implement and stick to, staying active overall can go a long way. In the spirit of the holidays, go outside and have a snowball fight. Build a snowman. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Go for hike- you don’t have to worry about bugs! Even a day of shopping is better than sitting at home on the couch (though perhaps not on your bank account). You’ve heard it before, but taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help, as can giving Bernice from accounting the front parking spot for once. These things may not seem like much, and while definitely not as strenuous as running a few miles, they still add up. If it’s hard for you to achieve the same workout intensity in the cold weather, staying active and burning those few extra calories every day can make all the difference in avoiding winter weight gain.

    So there you have it. With just a little creativity and maybe some help from your friends, you should be well on your way to staying fit this winter!

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