For most people, staying in shape is not exactly an effortless process. However, during the warmer months it is generally less of a challenge than usual. Temperate weather makes it easier to get out and about, whether jogging around the block, getting in a few rounds of tennis or basketball, or simply walking or driving to the gym.
Of course, if you live in a climate that experiences frigid temperatures and messy precipitation in the winter, this time of year it is ostensibly more difficult to stay in shape. Fortunately, there are several great ways to put an effective fitness regimen in place even during these trying months.
Here are 8 tips for staying in shape during the winter:
1. Go for a Walk Wherever You Can
Warmer weather allows for more frequent outdoor walking and other exercise. However, if you have some free time on a more mild winter day it is a good time to get out for brisk stroll around the neighborhood. Not only will walking outdoors when it’s not too cold help to keep you in shape during the winter months, but getting outside and getting some exposure to the sun will also help to boost your mood, which is definitely an added bonus that we can all use in the winter. If the cold is just too much, consider a longer walk around your local, climate-controlled shopping mall. You can burn 300 calories or more with just an hour of walking.
It does not matter where you do it: in a dance class or simply in front of your kitchen radio, there are few ways to burn calories that are more fun, exhilarating, cathartic, or effective as dancing. So, put in a zumba tape, turn your TV to your favorite music station, or just blast the radio, and dance your heart away! Just make sure to stretch first if you plan on really going at it.
3. Exercise at Home
Many people take advantage of indoor time to do a home workout with an exercise video or exercise video game. However, home exercise does not even need to be this intense: try jogging or running in place while watching television, maybe throwing in a few push-ups if you are feeling energetic.
If you really want to make sure you are staying in your best shape possible even during the winter months, you might want to consider purchasing a home exercise bike, treadmill, or elliptical. These home exercise machines will help to make sure you are getting a great workout, without having to brave the harsh conditions in order to do so.
4. Become a Regular at the Fitness Center
If you are a member of a nice warm, indoor gym winter is the time to fully take advantage of your membership. If you are not a gym member, most fitness centers offer appealing discounts to new members – see if you can get a good deal on a new membership to help you stay in shape during the winter. Especially at the beginning of a new year, when everyone is making their “get in shape” New Year’s Resolutions, most fitness centers will offer great discounts on their memberships. And if you don’t want to wait until January to sign up for a membership, that’s fine also. Just speak with someone in memberships and ask them if they’d be willing to offer you their New Year’s discount if you sign up today. Odds are, they’ll be happy to give you the discount in order to gain your business.
5. Stay Active in General
For many, winter is a time to stay idle and warm indoors, which is not conducive to fitness. However, like any other time of the year, doing things like walking instead of driving for short errands, taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, or even parking a little bit further from the entrance of the supermarket all add up to a more robust and effective winter fitness routine.
6. Practice Good Sleeping Habits
Inadequate sleep leads to a number of issues, including a slower metabolism and the release of hunger-inducing hormones. Regularly getting a good night’s sleep during the winter not only helps you stay in shape and gives you energy to stay active during the day, but also bolsters your immune system during the cold and flu season.
7. Enjoy Outdoor Winter Activities
Winter weather certainly does not preclude outdoor fun. Ice skating, skiing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowboarding are all super-fun activities that you can enjoy with family or friends while burning a surprising number of calories.
8. Try Not to Overindulge
As the outdoor temperature becomes colder, many people are tempted to fortify themselves with heavy foods in large portions. While the temptation is understandable, even winter-appropriate foods can be enjoyed in smaller portions, unless you are kicking up your exercise routine to burn off all those excess calories.