It can be a tough time to exercise. Short days and cold temperatures seem to call for curling up in front of the TV until the spring thaw. But, don’t give in to that temptation. With a little planning and a few tips, you can keep moving right through the winter.
The good news is that outdoor exercise in winter is actually more effective than in summer, because your body burns calories just keeping warm.
- If the sidewalks are clear of ice, go for a walk. It continues to be one of the best ways to keep up your metabolism and burn fat.
- Because it’s winter: Dress warmly, wear reflective clothing in the darker morning and evening hours, and wear shoes with good traction. Make stretching a part of your daily fitness routine — flexibility helps you avoid serious injury if you do have a slip.
- Hike in the snow. Walking through deep snow is more strenuous and uses more calories than summer hiking.
- Because it’s winter: Wear insulated boots that keep your feet warm and dry.
- Join the kids and build a snowman or fort. Children love to play in the snow. Join in the fun and you’ll hardly notice that you’re getting a workout, too.
- Because it’s winter: Plan inside breaks to warm up and hydrate your body.
- Walk your dog — exercise is fundamental to a dog’s happiness and well-being, too!
- Because it’s winter: Wipe your dog’s paws when you return. Salt and de-icing products dry your dog’s skin and can be toxic if ingested.
Indoors Away From Home
Exercising with others can be a powerful motivator to stay active.
- If you live close to a shopping mall, see if they have a mall walker program — generally a scheduled time when people gather to walk laps past the storefronts.
- Look for a gym or fitness center that offers short-term membership. A two- or three-month membership will get you through the winter.
- Join a basketball, bowling, or other league that meets weekly. Even if you’re not a top-scorer, you’ll be getting regular exercise in a fun way.
Indoors At Home
Exercise — instead of hibernating — in front of your TV.
- If you have a piece of exercise equipment, use it while watching TV. Even without equipment, stand up, stretch, march in place. Try to keep up your routine through a half-hour program.
- Rent or buy an exercise DVD instead of a movie. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked the available titles, you’ll likely be surprised at the range of workouts now available.
- Ask your health coach for a copy of Your Guide to the Core 4. You’ll find 10 pages of great workout tips, including specific exercises for warming up, strengthening, and stretching.