It’s the first week of December in New-Brunswick. The sun rises at 7:47 am and sets at 4:32 pm. We’re waking up in the dark, leaving work in the dark and spending a good proportion of our time in the dark.
We tell ourselves ”It’s too cold to workout”, “I don’t feel like dressing up like a mummy just to go walk the dog” “I don’t want to risk slipping on ice” or ”I’m too busy to even think about physical activity during the holidays” and blah blah blah over the next few months.
I agree with you, baby it’s cold outside and when the snow is blowing outside, temperature are dropping below -15 C° and the wind is howling, it can be tough to get motivated to stay active – indoors or outdoors.
But winter shouldn’t be a time to slack off ESPECIALLY with all those holiday treats around !
Benefits of working out during the winter
- Staying active boost immunity by keeping the lymphatic system active and improving sleep quality. Keep on moving if you want to avoid colds and the flu this season.
- Working out in the winter also prevents gaining weight which occurs from being inactive and eating and drinking too much over the holidays.
Here are ways to mix up your workouts, get
creative and beat the winter blues while staying warm and toasty :
1. Take advantage of the snow
Explore seasonal activities such as cross-country skiing (a personal favorite), snow-shoeing, skating, sledding or just get out and play. Geocatching in winter can be a lot of fun too.
You’ll burn quite a few calories just playing outdoors :
Making snow angels (214 cals/hour)
Having a snowball fight (319 cals/hour)
Building a snowman (285 cals/hour)
Shoveling snow is also a great exercise BUT if you have a heart condition make sur you ask your doctor if shoveling is okay.
Layers, add some. Stay warm and dry and if you get too hot simply remove the top layer. Keep in mind that the layer closest to your skin allows moisture to be wicked away, avoid cotton because once wet, it stays wet. The top layer should be wind and water-resistant.
3. Avoid post-exercise hypothermia
It’s tempting, once back inside, to immediately remove all your winter clothes but mark my words here : give your body time to readjust (10-15 minutes) before changing. If you lose too much heat too quickly you might experience post-exercice hypothermia.
When exercising outdoors closely monitor your body for hypothermia symptoms :
- Loss of coordination
- Pale, cold skin
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Slowed breathing or slowed heart rate
4. Stay Hydrated
5. Walks indoors
Keep those Fitbit steps going by walking indoors. In my city we have the mall and indoor tracks in sport facility and arenas. A pedometer would help motivate you to walk more and walking is an effective cardio workout that suits a range of fitness levels. Turn shopping into exercise by going to the mall before the stores open and take a brisk walk. By the time you finish, you’ll be able to get a head start on your holiday shopping (window shopping at a casual pace burns approximately 68 cals/ half hour). That’s a large Tim Horton coffee with 2 milks !
6. Join a class or an indoor sports league
Expand your exercise repertoire and check out a new fitness class. From aerobic kickboxing to badminton to yoga there’s a variety of classes and sports to choose from at local community centers.
7. Workout at Home
Commit to creating a mini home gym with inexpensive equipment such as elastics, stability balls, yoga mat and small free weights or use body weight exercises. Also, don’t underestimate the power of stairs either at home or at your workplace.
Bonus : You won’t catch that nasty cold going around from your fellow gym goers.
8. Get wet
Indoor pools are a great way to stay active. Try lap swimming or water aerobics. Plus, if you can take adavantage of a sauna there it’s a great way to warm up in the cold winter days.
7. Set goals
Winter is the perfect time for you to become a couch potato, eat an endless amount of comfort food while watching your favourite TV series on Netflix but it’s also the perfect time to focus on health goals.
Decide you’ll lose those last 10lbs, sign up for that 5km New Year race (yes, you can still run outside in the cold), lock down a fitness routine, clean out the pantry and don’t let the winter conditions encourage you to eat more and do less.
The trouble with not having a goal us that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
– Bill Copeland