Staying fit and healthy is a lifelong goal for many people but making it a reality is sometimes easier said than done. As if trying to balance exercise and healthy eating with work and kids isn’t hard enough, you also have to deal with the seasons throwing you off your game.
Winter, with its short days and colder temperatures, can be a dreary time of year to stay active in. This year is particularly challenging too, as we’ll be in the midst of lockdown for most of it/ Fortunately if you struggle to stay motivated with exercise during these months, these suggestions might be exactly what you need.
If the weather insists on freezing everything over, why not use that to your advantage? Winter is the perfect time to take up ice skating, especially if you need to keep the kids busy with ice skates too. Depending on the conditions where you live, you can either exercise on an artificial rink or apply your skills to an actual frozen body of water. The former is probably the safer option, especially if you’re a little unsteady on the ice, and there are plenty of ice skating venues to choose from, although you need to check if they’re still open due to the lockdown and what social distancing measures they’re putting in place. Either way, though, you’ll be strengthening your various muscle groups and improving your cardiovascular health!
Given the colder conditions in winter, exercising outdoors might be something you’d prefer to avoid. However, there are certain advantages that come from training outside, including getting vitamin D from the sun. With cycling, the increased wind resistance in winter can actually be beneficial, providing an extra challenge to your workout that will pay off in the long run. What’s more, with everything going on right now, cycling during the pandemic is actually preferable to certain indoor activities. After all, it’s a lot easy to keep your distance from other people when you’re on a bike outside.
Walking in the snow can feel like a workout in itself when there’s enough of it on the ground. That’s why snowshoeing is another great activity in the winter, and it’s one that can only really be done during this season. If you live somewhere that sees a lot of snowfall, this exercise could be a perfect way to improve your fitness while walking in a winter wonderland. Again, it’s a good one to do with the kids because who doesn’t love spending time in the snow? They’ll be too busy throwing snowballs to even realize that they’re exercising.
The great thing about exercise is that it gets your blood pumping and warms you up. That might seem like a downside during the summer, but in the winter, it’s exactly what you need. As daunting as exercising outside might be in the winter, if you’re running, you aren’t going to feel it for very long. Not only does it keep you warm, but it can also strengthen your leg bones and muscles, improve your cardiovascular health, and burn off some calories. So, if the holiday season wasn’t too kind to your waistline, running is a good way to get yourself back on track.
If you’d prefer to avoid the cold outdoors and don’t wish to pay for a gym membership, there’s still plenty that you can do from your own home. Dancing is a great activity for this, and how you do it is up to you. For instance, you could put your headphones on and let the music move your body, or you could follow a video online. You might feel a little embarrassed getting your groove on at home, but then again, maybe your kids will be inspired to join in with you.
Another activity that can easily be done from the comfort of your home is yoga. If you feel like you’re trapped inside by the cold weather, the last thing you want is for your body to become stiff from inactivity. That’s where yoga, with all its flexible movements, comes in. The health benefits of yoga are many, with regular sessions able to keep your body limbered up, as well as easing away some of the stress of daily life. Given that cold weather can make people a little irritable, yoga is a great remedy for those winter blues.
Push-ups. Sit-ups. Lunges. Squats. These are the kinds of exercises that many trainers will tell people to do at the gym. You don’t need to pay for a membership to do them yourself, though. All you really need is the motivation to carry out your own workout routine at home. Little exercises like this, as well as things like crunches and planks, are brilliant for maintaining your fitness without ever leaving the house. You’ll probably be exhausted by the time you’ve finished them, but that’s how you know they’re a good workout.
Winter might make exercising a real chore sometimes, but those cold months don’t have to stand in the way of you and your fitness goals. With these workout suggestions, training in the winter should be no different to doing it at any other time of the year.