It’s chilly, it’s gloomy, and getting out of bed is very difficult. When you’re forced to bring your workout indoors because of weather, motivation and creativity can escape you. However, don’t let the winter get you off track of maintaining – or starting – a consistent exercise routine. To keep you moving, the health experts at Envolve, an integrated healthcare solutions company, have put together five tips to help you get your exercise in, even when temps aren’t ideal.
1. Class Crash. If your workout typically takes you outdoors like running or biking, look for some indoor alternatives. Many local gyms run holiday or winter specials. Consider a short-term membership and hit a cycling class instead. The average spin class can burn anywhere from 300 to 800 calories depending on the intensity and your body weight. You may find the community aspect and instructor inspire you to beat your normal pace! If cycling isn’t your thing, try a low- or high-impact aerobics class to keep your heart pumping like it would during an outdoor run.
2. Attempt Indoor Sports. Mix it up and look for some indoor rec leagues in your area. Basketball is a high endurance sport that promotes bone strength and coordination skills. Indoor soccer and volleyball are great team sports that improve muscle strength and tone. Not an extremely athletic person? Look for some more laid back options like dodgeball, bowling, or rock climbing. These sports not only offer physical benefits, they also promote social interaction, which is also important to your overall health.
3. Stay Home. You don’t have to have thousands of dollars worth of equipment to turn your home into a gym. Use a chair for leg lifts, raising your leg straight out until it is level with your hips. Try triceps dips for muscle tone and strength building. Using your arms to hold you up, slide off the front of your chair, slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then straighten your arms and repeat. Jumping rope, running in place, and jumping jacks are all great cardio options that require little space and no fancy equipment. Combine multiple strength and cardio exercises together to create your own circuit. Circuit workouts allow you to cycle through a number of exercises keeping things interesting and allow you to get maximum results in a smaller amount of time. Bonus – circuit training has been reported to boost your metabolism. And if you do decide to go outdoor for activities like running, check out a few suggestions for running gear like new balance running shoes.
4. Select Seasonal Activities. Everyday activities that come with cold weather can be good ways to stay fit. Shoveling snow is both a muscle and cardio workout with the potential to burn up to 200 calories every 30 minutes. Pulling your kids around in the sled? It’s essentially the equivalent of lifting weights. If you live in an area where you can enjoy outdoor winter sports like snowshoeing or skiing, these are great cardio and muscle strengthening options the whole family can enjoy. Not coordinated enough for skiing? The walking and exertion it takes going up the hill multiple times for sledding is still an excellent workout! Even if you don’t have snow in your area, a cool brisk winter hike helps add some activity to the day.
5. Plan Ahead. If you decide to brave the weather, be sure to check the temperature and wind chill so you can safely plan your route and dress. A wind chill of lower than -18 degrees Fahrenheit is unsafe even with warm clothing. Make sure your layers consist of different materials to create the greatest resistance for wind. Cover your head, face, and hands to retain more heat. Instead of venturing far in a straight direction, consider altering your route to be more of a loop that you can repeat so you can stay closer to home should the weather change or the temperature feel too cold.