Working Out in Winter Weather

There are many health benefits to continuing your fitness routine even in winter.

It may still be the middle of winter in many parts of the country…but that doesn’t mean you have to skip your workout!  In fact, there are many health benefits to continuing your fitness routine even in the chilly temperatures.  Here are some tips to keep you moving, when everything around you is frozen.

  1. Acclimate – It takes time to get used to different temperatures whether you’re going from hot to cold or vice versa. Allow your body time to acclimate to the change in temperature.  Instead of hibernating when the temps drop, force yourself to keep working out.  It will be easier to make yourself go outside if you warm up inside first.  Five to ten minutes prior to going out, do some low-level aerobic exercises like jogging in place or jumping jacks.  That way when you step outside, you’ll already be warm.  It’s also important to wear layers, so you can remove them as your body temperature increases.
  2. Get Creative – Don’t let the weather be your excuse for skipping your workout. You can get plenty of exercise inside your home.  Try a new workout DVD or stream one for free from YouTube or another streaming service.  Local libraries often rent DVDs and a wide selection means you can change things up more frequently.  Invest in a few pieces of fitness equipment to help you stay on track.  Or better yet, use what you’ve got – cans of soup can double as hand weights and who needs a stair stepper if you have stairs in your house?  The point is, get creative, not sluggish!
  3. Embrace Seasonal – you could sit around dwelling on the cold weather. Or you could embrace all the options it presents you with.  From skiing, to snowshoeing, skating and sledding, there are plenty of winter exercise options that aren’t available to you during any other season, so you may as well enjoy them while you can.  Even walking in the snow can be beneficial – it burns more calories than walking on a cleared sidewalk or track.  So, bundle up and get out there!
  4. Find a Group – It’s easy to bail on your winter workout. It’s much more enticing to stay inside and cozy up by the fire.  Having an accountability partner or group can make all the difference. Fitness partners can provide social support, camaraderie and distraction from the bad weather.  Joining a group can also lead to new friendships.
  5. Focus on More than Fitness – Sure, exercise is good for you.  But if you’re trying to lose weight or get in shape quickly, you can easily get frustrated at the time it takes to see progress and results.  Instead focus on the other many benefits of exercise.  The mental health benefits happen almost immediately.  You’ll feel better, less stressed and more relaxed.  The shorter days of winter can lead to seasonal affective disorder, but a little bit of exercise can go a long way toward helping you feel better.

 

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