The winter can be pretty demotivating when it comes to working out and staying active. When you’re looking at subzero temperatures and a foot of snow, the choice between heading to the gym and wrapping yourself in a blanket on the couch seems like a no brainer. The problem is that long periods of inactivity can lead to a whole list of health problems including weight gain, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Taking some small steps to battle the urge to be inactive can make a difference in the long run. Here are some simple ways you can stay active during the winter months.
1. Play In The Snow
Find your inner child and go play in the snow. You can build a snowman with your kids, have a snowball fight, or go for a nice walk. According to Bill McArdle, an exercise physiologist, “Walking in packed snow increases by 60 percent the calories burned compared to walking on a paved road, while walking in soft snow triples the calories burned compared to walking at the same speed on a treadmill. In addition, the added resistance of the snow can firm and tone the muscles.”
2. Videos At Home
Sometimes trying to find motivation to go to the gym when it’s cold and snowing is extremely difficult. Luckily these days, there are multiple resources to access in order to get a good workout. There are workouts on DVDs, YouTube videos, and even some cable providers will offer on demand exercise videos. Make sure to be mindful of your form while completing these programs.
3. Class Workouts
If you can make it out, try heading to a yoga, Pilates, or another group class. Winter can deplete individuals of their energy due to the constant cold and lack of sun. Try a class that will reinvigorate you and restore your energy. (Hot Yoga can feel pretty great this time of year).
4. Take Up A Snow Sport
One way to have fun in the winter is to pick up a new hobby. Skiing and snowboarding are both great workouts involving cardiovascular and muscular endurance aspects. If you don’t have time to head to the slope, cross-country skiing or even just snowshoeing are other great options for cardiovascular exercise.
5. Take The Stairs
Can’t get to the gym? Instead of taking the elevator to your floor at work or at home, take the stairs. Stair climbing is an excellent way to burn calories and increase your cardiovascular endurance. Keep in mind, this won’t replace a regular cardio session, but it is a great way to make sure you get a mini-session.
6. Walk To The Store
Every winter day isn’t horrible. On the days that aren’t too cold, try walking to work or the store and burn a few more calories than you would have. If the street and side walks are clear, take your run outside! It will be a nice change of pace from the treadmill, just remember to dress appropriately for the weather.
Cleaning can keep you busy, give you a sense of accomplishment, and you can actually burn calories in the process. You can make it fun by blasting music. Getting your chores done when it’s cold will also save you from having to do it when the weather is nice.