When temperatures drop, you might be tempted to stay inside and forget the workout. However, you need to remain active all winter long. If you pass up those cold-weather activities, then it will be harder to get back in shape by springtime. Here are some ways to stay active during the snowy season.
Why Choose a Winter Workout?
Winter is the best time to celebrate the holidays with your family and friends. However, the cold winters also give you an excuse to snuggle up and stop any strenuous activities. During this season, you are also at risk of eating more calories and putting on weight.
When the weather is warmer, it is more inviting to go outside and get your body moving. It can be a challenge to trudge out in the cold weather and darkness to head over to the gym. However, we need to exercise in the winter as well. The American Heart Association recommends about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activities or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity to prevent heart disease.
Keeping active in the winter can help you in many ways. When you are more active, your immune system can help fend off nasty flu and cold germs. If you sit around at home and stay inactive, you will be more susceptible to those viruses.
Seasonal affective disorder affects millions of Americans. People can experience bouts of depression and anxiety due to the lack of vitamin D from the sunshine. When you get out and exercise, you can give your mood that added boost.
Find Workout Alternatives
If you don’t love outdoor activities, you can find plenty of indoor alternatives to keep you warm. All you need to do is find a warm environment and get to work. With these alternatives, you can have a healthier and happier winter.
Yoga is one of those activities that can be done in your living room, bedroom, or anywhere around your home. Many people use yoga to warm up their bodies in the morning and get ready to start the day. If you don’t know how to start, you can find plenty of resources online or with a local beginner class. Local workout groups can help you to learn the different poses and meditation techniques. For those wanting to beat the cold, you should consider a hot yoga class in a studio. During these classes, the room will be at least 87 degrees; it is a perfect way to chase away those chilly winds.
Want to have fun and break a sweat? You should think about dancing to some music in your home. Dancing can also burn some serious calories. Depending on the pace, you can burn off anywhere from 90 to 266 calories per half-hour. You can have fun and burn calories in a unique way.
If you need a few ideas for your dance routine, head out to the local library. You can find DVDs featuring everything from step classes, aerobics, Pilates, and dance programs.
Join a Group Workout Class
With the rise of seasonal depression, you want to stay social and active during the colder months. In recent years, research is showing that group exercise has more quality-of-life benefits too. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found out in 2017 study that those who participated in group workout reported a better quality of life in their physical, mental, and emotional health than those who exercised alone.
Alternatives to Running
Running is a great way to stay in shape. However, when it gets icy and cold, you probably want to stay inside. You don’t have to skip out on the cardio exercise just because it’s frosty and dark. There are several exercises that you can complete at home. You can climb some stairs or perform a few jumping jacks. Burpees, mountain climbers, and jump rope are all other alternatives to get your heart rate up. All these exercises will give you a boost while you stay nice and toasty inside your home.
If you have your heart set on some indoor running, then you should head off to the mall. While you might think that the mall is only for shopping, it is usually open for people who want to take a few laps throughout the complex. You might even find a few friends to join in and make it a social event.
Set Up a Home Workout Area
If you don’t want to brave the winter elements, then you might want to set up your own home workout area. You can create a space in any area, like the living room or basement. A home gym doesn’t need much equipment either. You can add a few stretch bands, dumbbells, or stability ball.
Calisthenics is a great way to exercise in a home gym. You can perform them easily and without the use of special equipment. Push-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, and planks can all be completed in the comfort of your home. Chair dips and calf raises will also build up those muscles without going out in the cold. You want to perform these exercises three to four times a week, so that you will be toned up and ready when the winter weather breaks.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another excellent fitness regimen that you can complete in your home. HIIT is a workout that alternates between intense anaerobic exercise with short periods of rest. You don’t even need any fancy equipment since you can use light dumbbells or your own body weight. With these workouts, your metabolism will continue to burn calories even as you are resting.
Exercise With Your Children or Pets
Winter can make everyone feel a little stir crazy in the house. If you want to add some cardiovascular exercise, you can play with the kids and pets. Hide and seek, or dance-offs are great ways to spend family time together and get in your workout. These play activities will keep everyone in shape and push away the winter boredom throughout the season.
Hit The Gym
If you want to break away from your home, then you need to find some indoor activities. No matter where you live, you can find plenty of gyms to help you complete your workouts. Many gyms have cycling classes or a ton of treadmills for you to use. You might want to shy away from a gym due to the cost. However, they will often offer specials for new members. If you are serious about your health in the winter, it might be a worthy investment.
Tips for Working Out in the Winter
For those with their hearts set on heading outside, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Winter’s cold temperatures and icy conditions can be challenging for those who wish to exercise. With a few precautionary measures, you can stay safe while you are outside.
When you head out in the cold, you always want to insulate your body. You should dress in layers since it is the most effective way to stay dry and warm. If you get too hot, you can always remove a layer and remain warm. It is essential to know how to layer. The layer closest to the skin tends to get wet, so you want to wear clothing that will wick away any moisture. Your top layer should be made with material that is both water-resistant and wind-resistant.
It may be tempting to take off layers when you get hot but resist the urge. Even when you come back inside, your body needs time to adjust back to a comfortable temperature. Unless you are wet, you should wait around 10 to 15 minutes before changing into different clothes. If you immediately remove your clothes, you can quickly lose body heat. In some cases, you might experience post-exercise hypothermia as your body loses existing stored up heat.
When you are outside, you need to stay hydrated. We all know you have to drink plenty of fluids in the summer, and that doesn’t change during winter. You want to drink water before, during, and after a workout.
Finally, remember to always workout during daylight hours. In the winter, sunlight is limited as the days tend to be shorter. Once the sun sets, the temperatures start to drop. If you want to wander out while it is dark, then you should add some reflective materials on your clothes to be visible to drivers and other people.
Get Outside and Exercise
For those wanting to skip boring treadmills, you have other options. While the weather outside can be frigid, you can still get in a great workout. Some winter activities can burn mega calories and boost your endorphins as you stay active during the wintertime.
Walking is the easiest workout for people at any level of fitness. You don’t even require any equipment other than well-fitting walking shoes. Low-intensity, steady-state cardio (LISS) helps the body to become more conditioned over time, and it makes the body use fat as a fuel source. When your body uses fat, you can slim down with regular walks. You should try power walking for 45 minutes at a pace that is 50 percent of your max heart rate.
A good walk can even chase away those winter blues. When you get outside, you can add some vitamin D from the sun. A lack of this essential vitamin has been tied to an increase in seasonal affective disorder. Don’t think that running is the only option to pump up the cardio. A brisk walk can be as effective as a run, and you can burn up to 300 to 450 calories per hour.
Hit the Slopes
There are some activities that you can only do in the winter. Skiing, snowboarding, and other snow-based activities are excellent exercises. A 155-pound person can burn as much as 233 calories in 30 minutes with cross-country skiing. For those wanting to head downhill, this type of skiing can burn nearly 300 calories per half hour. If you are looking for something different, skinning (uphill skiing) is another unique exercise. This activity is a great way to tone up your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. It also makes a great core exercise that can burn 750 to 1,080 calories per hour.
Many people love to hit the ice, and it is the perfect way to get great glutes. When you push off on your foot, you extend the hips and build up the glutes. Ice skating can also workout the abductors and adductors in your legs. If you don’t want to end up falling on the ice, then you need great posture. To maintain an upright position, you will work your obliques and lower back muscles. Ice skating burns 800 to 1,200 calories per hour.
While other people are heading to hot yoga, you can try your hand at snow-ga. This type of yoga takes place in the freezing cold. Your body will passively burn calories as you try to stay warm, and you are not losing any water due to sweating. These icy yoga classes can burn up to 226 to 335 calories per hour as you work out your core, arms, legs, shoulders, and back. If you do decide to head out, make sure to dress in layers to avoid any frostbite.
Just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you have to skip out on exercise. Whether you want to exercise inside or outdoors, there are plenty of activities to keep you moving during the winter. With a few exercises or classes, you can keep away the winter doldrums by staying fit.
For more winter workout ideas, head over to our Facebook page for updates.