Exercising in winter can seem like an almost impossible task due to the shorter days, bitter cold and dark evenings. But in order to stay healthy, to improve our moods, and to continue our healthy weight goals, it's important – some say, maybe even more so, as our natural hibernation mode wants to begin, resulting in a craving for all those processed whites Carbohydrates that pile on the pounds. Due to the lack of light in the winter months, it is also crucial that these endorphins (or "happiness hormones") are pumped at this time of the year.
Some people can't stand the thought of exercising outside in the morning or in the evening, but sometimes it's just a matter of readjusting our attitudes and realizing the importance of still being out there. Going outside is so beneficial that we spend time in nature (which has been shown to be good for our mental health) and stay away from digital screens and devices. While exercising outside may not be as easy as it is during the summer months, there are a few tips that can make it easier:
- Layer up: Apply on a thin base layer of synthetic fabrics. If it's really cold outside, wear a middle layer like polar fleece and finally add an outer layer (or shell) like a lightweight nylon windbreaker or a heavy, waterproof jacket. Remove the layers as needed to avoid overheating.
- Protect your extremities: Wearing a hat and high quality socks goes a long way towards making you feel good.
- Always warm up first: Warm-up exercises increase blood flow and temperature in the muscles to reduce the risk of injury. In colder temperatures there is an increased risk of sprains and strains. So it's worth doing this.
- Keep drinking: Some of us don't feel thirsty while exercising in cold weather, but we still lose fluids through sweat and breathing at lower temperatures. Hence, we need to replace this fluid by drinking enough water before and after exercise.
- Be visible: Make sure you are visible to cars and other pedestrians by wearing a reflective vest and reflective / flashing lights. Poor visibility from rain, cloudy, or dark skies makes it harder for others to see you. These also improve visibility for you to avoid missteps and falls.
Some indoor ideas for exercising
Some of us (myself included) just can't stand the cold at times. Always remember that in addition to exercising, instead of missing out on a workout, you have other options. The ideal is to confuse some outdoor activities with some indoor activities, such as:
- Set up a home gym: You can easily set up a great workout area in your living room or garage and purchase inexpensive equipment like hand weights, a skipping rope, stretch bands, and a stability ball. Make music and be on your way! Below are our ideas for a simple program. Why not oblige a partner or your teenage boy to become “buddies” together?
- Start climbing these stairs: Spend just five minutes at a time climbing and descending stairs at home or at work for a very intense and efficient workout. Believe it or not, research proves that ingesting the Staris actually has a sufficient impact on our calorie consumption and overall health!
- Try squash: If you're looking for a quick way to burn fat and calories, pumpkin is a great option. Unlike normal cardio training, you benefit from using every muscle in your body and constantly moving from side to side and up and down. You won't even notice that time is passing – we promise!
Simple home program to try out
- Jump rope: 30 seconds, six times
- Pushups: three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions
- Triceps dips: three sets of 15
- Regular crunches: three sets of 25 pieces
- Bicycle crunch: three sets of 30; 15 each leg
- Plank: three sets of 60 seconds
- Lunge steps with dumbbells: three sets; 15 each leg
- Squats with dumbbells: three sets; 15 repetitions
- Bicep curls: three sets of 15 pieces
- Overhead Press: three sets of 15 pieces
Positive rewards from training
Don't forget that rewarding yourself for all of your efforts is so important. After training, take a nice bath in the bathroom with Radox or Epsom salts or book a massage or facial treatment after every month of winter training. Also, remember that it is important to take days of rest so that the muscles can relax. These days feel especially luxurious when you light the fire, put on your pajamas and enjoy a cozy night out, especially if you've been exercising in the cold for the rest of the week!
Read our top 5 tips to keep up with your workout here.