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How to Exercise in Winter

(A few tips)

During the winter months, it’s easy to make excuses to stay indoors. However, your body still needs exercise even when the weather is cold. You need to find a workout you enjoy enough to keep up with. Establish a routine that’s manageable for you. If you choose to workout outdoors, make sure you stay safe. You will need to layer up in order to stay warm. Working out in the winter can be a challenge. However, push yourself to stay on track. You will feel good about keeping your body healthy even when the weather is cold.

Find something you enjoy. Regardless of whether you’re exercising inside or outside, choose an activity you genuinely enjoy. One reason people struggle to work out in the winter is that their exercise of choice isn’t an option in the colder months. If you, for example, love running, you may struggle to do so in below freezing temperatures. Try to find a new activity that you enjoy.

Take this as a chance to experiment a little. You want to diversify your workout routine, and winter is a chance to do so. Take a chance at trying a variety of new activities. For example, try skiing if you’ve never tried it before. If you prefer to stay warm in doors, take a class at your local gym. Try a dance-based exercise class, for example.

Look into activities you can do indoors. Weather is often the reason people taper off working out during the winter. Therefore, find something you enjoy that you can do indoors. There are a variety of workout routines you don’t need to leave your home to do.

Try enrolling in a class at your gym or at a local community centre. You can try something like tai-chi, yoga, or Pilates. If you love doing something like biking or running, try using a treadmill or stationary bike at your gym. If you go for long walks during the warmer months, try walking at a local mall during the winter. Flexibility is key to exercising in the winter. You need to be able to adapt to whatever exercise space you have access to.

Use outdoor winter activities as a form of exercise. Many people enjoy playing outdoors in the winter. Certain activities can actually burn calories. If it’s too cold to make it to your gym on any given day, try going outside and enjoying the weather as a form of working out.

You can do things like make snowmen, make snow angels, go snowshoeing, or other winter activities. If you have kids, try spending a day in the snow with your children instead of going to your gym if it’s very cold out.

Try new winter sports. If you don’t like working out indoors, take winter as a chance to try winter sports. Things like skiing, snowshoeing, and even running outside are all options. See winter as a way to force yourself to try new things.

You can see if there are classes for winter sports in your area. Taking a skiing class can be a fun way to stay active over the winter.

Set goals. Sticking to a workout routine requires goals. You can see winter as the beginning of another season. Just as you may set a weight loss or fitness goal for the new year, set some goals for winter.

The best goals are reasonable and specific. If your goals are vague or over-the-top, you’re likely to get frustrated and not stick to them.
For example, you may have a goal along the lines of, “I want to lose some weight before the new year.” This is an acceptable goal, but it’s a little vague. Try to specify. For example, “I want to lose 8 pounds by New Year’s Eve.”

Find a workout buddy. Finding a workout buddy can help you stick to a routine. You will have another person to keep you accountable. Try pairing up with a friend to go training three times a week, or agreeing to go for a winter hike with your spouse each weekend. It’s a good idea to pick a very motivated workout buddy. This way, their enthusiasm will rub off on you. If you can’t find a workout buddy in person, try finding an online workout partner.

Avoid making excuses. Working out can be tiring and stressful. Many people make excuses as to why they can’t complete a routine. This can be particularly easy to do in the winter, when the weather gives you an easy out. Make a habit of recognizing and challenging your own excuses.

Remind yourself that your health and fitness does not take a vacation. Even though it’s winter, your body still needs a routine. Recognize when you’re making an excuse and challenge it. For example, you may think something like, “It’s so cold. I can’t walk to the gym in this weather.” Counter this excuse with something like, “I can wear layers and, even though the walk will be rough, I can make it to the gym.” Remember—it’s important to exercise throughout the year, including during the winter.

Create a Plan B When weather interferes with your workout. Sometimes, things do happen. A snow day could leave your gym closed. Very low temperatures could make a winter run dangerous. In these scenarios, have a Plan B.

Say you usually go to a gym. Have a few at-home workout routines on hand in case the weather closes your gym, or if it’s too dangerous to drive. You can even get some small home workout equipment, like free weights, to use at home. You can also find guided exercise routines to follow online. There may be a YouTube video, for example, of a half hour aerobics routine you could follow. Say you generally go running outside, even in the winter. If it gets too cold to run outside, you can run on a treadmill instead.

Focus on the positives to stay on track. Try to get excited about working out over the winter. Instead of viewing it as a burden, remember everything you’re gaining. You are keeping your health and weight intact even when it’s cold outside

Also, look into the fun things about working out in the winter. You can have a cup of warm cocoa in front of the fireplace after a vigorous workout, for example.

Warm up first. You should always warm up before a workout, but this is especially important during the winter. A 10-minute warm up prior to a workout is important. Warming up usually means doing a less strenuous form of your chosen exercise first. For example, walk briskly for 10 minutes before running.

Drink water and wear sunscreen. You may not feel the need to drink much water, or wear sunscreen, during colder months. However, you still need protection from the sun even if it’s cold out. You also may not feel thirsty if it’s cold outside, but you still need to hydrate as you lose fluids when working out.

Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink water. Carry a water bottle with you and takes sips on occasion when working out.
Cover most of your skin to avoid too much sun exposure. Put sunscreen on areas of your body not covered by your clothing.

Let us know how you get on.

Des – The Loft at Burnham

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