Staying Fit in the Winter - Live Better Blog | Revere Health

Don’t let the cold get you down.

Finding the motivation to exercise can be difficult during the winter months, especially when you are thinking about going outside. But don’t let the cold get you down! Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and combat seasonal affective disorder and the depressive slump during the dark winter days. There are plenty of fun activities you can enjoy to keep fit during the winter.

Outdoor Activity Ideas:

Walk.

Walking only requires appropriate clothing—lots of layers—and a good pair of shoes. Walking at a leisurely pace gets your blood flowing and helps reduce stress, and brisk walking helps you reap the fat burning benefit of cardio.

Hike.

Hiking can be as easy as or harder than walking, depending on your trail. Hiking is a good chance to get out of the city, appreciate the beauty of nature and explore new vistas.

Run.

Vigorous exercise, such as running, is one of the best ways to get your heart in shape. Vigorous exercise can also help slow signs of aging and prevent disease and disability.

Cross-country ski.

Using your own strength to propel yourself over the snow takes a lot of effort, but the hard work is worth the stunning natural views you’ll find on the trail. Plus, the ride down is another reward.

Ski and snowboard.

This activity is an adrenaline rush and a workout in one. Winter sports are fun for groups of friends and family.

Sled.

Trudging up the hill after each run will tire you out quicker than you think.

Ice skate.

Great for families, friends or a date. To get extra benefits, keep your core engaged and keep moving while on the rink.

Snowshoe.

The snow creates muscle resistance, so you burn more calories with each step. Snowshoeing is a fun backcountry activity and, like hiking, leads you to some beautiful views.

Have a snowball fight.

Though throwing snowballs isn’t really a vigorous workout, the heavy resistance of snow works your leg muscles while running around trying to dodge the snowballs.

Build a snowman.

Rolling the heavy snow around will work your arms, legs and your core. And if that doesn’t wear you out, lifting the snow piles on top of one another will do it—just be sure to use proper lifting technique with your legs.

Shovel snow.

Again, be careful not to strain your back when lifting and keep your core engaged. Your arms will be burning after this.

Make sure you properly prepare yourself and your family before heading outdoors. Here are some tips to follow before engaging in any winter activity:

1. Follow 15-degree rule.

Extreme temperatures are harder on the body, lowering the quality of your workout and straining your muscles. A good rule to follow is anything 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below means you should stay indoors to workout.

2. Find a solid path.

  1. Walking or running on ice causes you to tighten up, altering your form which can lead to injuries and unnecessary soreness. Look for paths that are plowed, salted and ice-free. Even runningon fresh snow or a snow-packed path is a good alternative to an icy road. Remember to focus on your footing!

3. Dress Appropriately.

    1. Your core temperature will rise once you get moving, so remove a layer if you are already nice and warm when going outside. Pretend it’s 15 to 20 degrees warmer outside than it actually is. Remember to wear moisture-wicking clothing for the layer closest to your skin, and avoid cotton.

4. Warm-up before working out.

    1. Three to five minutes will usually do the trick, but your warm-up will need to be longer depending on how cold it is outside. Whether it’s marching in place, hitting the stairs or doing a set of walking lunges, anything to get your blood flowing is a good idea. If you have the time, taking a short, hot shower is an option as well.

5. Hydrate!

      1. It’s easy to forget about drinking water during winter exercise because it takes more effort to get soaked with sweat or overheat when the weather is cold, but our bodies need to water to refuel. The dry winter air will suck the moisture right out of you when you exercise outside.

During a snowstorm or when the temperatures are very low, exercising indoors can keep your workout momentum going.

Indoor Activity Ideas:

Yoga or Pilates.

Yoga keeps your muscles limber and is a great stress reliever. Pilates helps build your core muscles and can even improve your posture. These classes can be found in gyms, private studios or on DVDs.

Workout DVDs.

Workout DVDs exist for almost every type of exercise including strength training, cardio and flexibility. Grab a friend or family member and workout together. On those cold, snowy days, doing ones of these is better than binge-watching Netflix.

Swim.

Swimming is the most popular sport in the U.S., and it is a great form of physical activity for people of all ages. This is ideal for those with weight bearing issues.

Bowling.

Bowling is a way to shake up your workout routine while also staying warm. It has the benefit of being a social activity, and it gives you a good arm workout.

Trampolines.

Join your kids at an indoor trampoline center if there’s one in your area. It’s fun for the whole family and a great way to get the kids physically active. Keep your abs engaged while jumping to work your core.

Indoor athletic leagues.

If you like competitive sports, find a league you can join in your area, such as ice hockey, basketball, volleyball or tennis. These will keep you in shape during the winter season and once the weather warms you can take the games and your league outdoors.

Fitness classes.

If you have a gym membership, fitness classes are a great way to try something new and break up your routine. Some gyms have a first-time-free promotion for friends of members. If you don’t have a gym membership, some gyms or private studios offer a free trial class to the public. Revere Health’s Wellness Institute in Provo offers several fitness classes. Please call (801) 812-5400 or (801) 429-0812 for information on classes, times and registration.

Exergames.

Exercise and dance video games are made to get you off the couch and moving—for instance, Nintendo’s Wii Sports, Wii Fit, or X-box’s Just Dance and Dance Revolution. Though you won’t get as many health benefits as playing sports themselves, they’re a fun way to get family and friends involved in some physical activity on indoor days.

Take the stairs.

Take the stairs every chance you get instead of the elevator or escalator when you’re doing your holiday shopping. This will burn a few more calories, and help keep your heart healthy.

Don’t wait until the new year to make fitness resolutions. Get a head start by establishing a routine and good habits today. When it comes to keeping fit, the trick is to find a physical activity, sport or exercise that you enjoy. Your workout won’t feel like a chore so you’ll continue doing it.

 

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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