Stay active in winter

The winter weather can seem like a great excuse to hibernate on your couch and push your fitness routine to the sidelines. However, winter is actually an important season to keep up with your active lifestyle. The winter months can make it easier to gain a few pounds and can set you back for the rest of the year.

So, how can you look past the frigid temperatures and get yourself up and moving? Here are a few tips to help you keep yourself active during the winter months:

Join a gym or health club. Indoor gyms are your best friend during the winter. Choose one that is located close to your home or office so that a drive in the winter weather won’t keep you from the gym.

Swim. Find an indoor swimming pool. Swimming boosts your physical strength and heart health. Plus, being active in the water is a comfortable way to ease into exercising again if you haven’t been active for a while.

Ice skating. Turn winter festivities into a workout! Ice skating is a great calorie burner. It’s fun for the whole family, too.

Walk at the mall. Many malls offer walking programs and access early in the morning to people in the community. Malls are a great alternative to getting in some steps if you find treadmills boring.

Try a fitness class. Fitness classes will not only help you get in shape but will help keep you motivated over the winter months. Try out one that you think sounds interesting or enjoyable to do.

Exercise at home. Buy some exercise equipment like a yoga mat or hand weights and make your own home gym. Try using YouTube or fitness apps to find exercise routines to follow along with and get yourself moving.

Go outside when you can. Not every day of winter is unbearable. Try to go outside on a mild winter day and exercise when it is safe to do so. Soaking up some sun and getting fresh air will also help reduce stress.

Take the stairs. You most likely have access to stairs whether it’s at your home, apartment building, or work. Stair climbing is an awesome fat-burning workout that will keep your heartrate up.

Play some indoor sports. The winter months are a great time to start playing some of your favorite indoor sports. Check for places in your community that offer indoor basketball, soccer, or volleyball courts.

Play some winter sports. Remember that skiing, snowboarding, and hockey can be just as healthy as they can be fun! Winter sports are also a great way to get in some physical activity while on a winter vacation.

Play outdoors with your kids. A great way to keep your blood pumping in the winter? Go outside and play with your kids! Pulling sleds, building snowmen, and chasing around your kids will keep you active and help you bond with your family.

Keep up with your healthy routine. The main reason why your couch seems a little too tempting during the winter is due to a lack of energy. Winter months can cause you to feel sluggish and lethargic. To combat this, make sure you get plenty of sleep and keep up with your healthy diet plan throughout the year. The more energized you feel, the easier it will be to stay active.

Stay motivated. Remind yourself of why it’s so important to stay active throughout the year – even when it feels hard to do so. If you prefer outdoor exercise, think of indoor exercise as a great way to switch up your routine and work your body in a different way than you usually do.

Exercise is too good for your body to pass up. Think of the winter as a time to get more creative with your exercise routine. Staying on track throughout the winter months will lead you to feeling even better than you usually do in the spring and summer seasons.

How do you stay active during the winter season? Share some ideas in the comments below!

Image by: Yanalya – Freepik

8 Ways to Keep Fit Outside the Gym This Winter

Without a gym membership, many people feel lost when it comes to staying in shape as winter approaches. Skiing and ice hockey are great sports, but they can be costly and require a lot of training, traveling and planning. However, with a little creativity and some basic equipment it’s not hard, and can even be fun, to stay in shape all winter long.

Here are some low-cost ideas to keep fit outside the gym this season. If you need more of a challenge, use the modification tips to take it up a notch.

1. Stairs

Running or walking up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building can be a great high intensity cardio and leg workout. One option for those starting out is to add walking intervals every few floors. For example, leave the stairwell and walk the length of the hallway and back before resuming your ascent.

Take it up a notch:

Try climbing two steps at a time, sprinting a few flights or doing jumping jacks between floors to raise the intensity.

2. Ice Skating

This is a great aerobic and social workout that can be done free of charge in some arenas.

Take it up a notch:

If triple axels are not in your repertoire, you can still pick up the pace to get your heart pumping. Skating backwards can also work your muscles in different ways.

If you have 10 or 20 meters to yourself you can try this:

  • Skate as fast as you can for 10 metres.
  • Come to a complete stop and touch the ice with your hand.
  • Immediately sprint back to the starting spot and touch the ice again.
  • Do this for one minute, three times.
  • Skate leisurely for one to two minutes between sets to catch your breath.

As you get better at it, try going for longer periods, change your distance or reduce your rest time.

3. Indoor Sports

Join a team or individual sports program. Competition levels can range from recreational to expert. The most cost effective programs are usually run by local municipalities where gym space at a local school or community centre is secured and people drop in for a game of basketball, floor hockey or other team sports. You can also sign up for any number of aerobics classes, dance classes or other group fitness sessions.

Take it up a notch:

If you have the time, try combining more than one workout each day. Try a yoga class right after pick-up basketball or Zumba in the morning and volleyball at night.

8 Smart Ways to Stay Active This Winter

“Exposing your body to colder temperatures activates multiple systems in your body, including your metabolism ramping up to generate body heat as a response,” he explains. “When you layer a workout on top of that, you have twice the thermal challenge, which pushes your body’s immune system, stress response and musculoskeletal system.”
Mentore adds that the cold also helps to condition the thyroid, which regulates body temperature, and that breathing cold, dry air could also improve lung capacity and capability.

Stay active during daylight hours.

If anything brings motivation to a standstill faster than a cold day, it’s a cold, dark night. Dr. Raj Gupta of Soul Focus points out that people tend to get lethargic when the sun goes down, putting that 7 p.m. yoga class in to jeopardy. “It’s best to stay active when the sun is still out, so you’ll be less likely to skip a workout and can remain active throughout those cold months,” he says. Another perk of exercising in the sunshine is that you’ll get an extra dose of vitamin D, which studies have shown can help to boost mood and alleviate depressive symptoms, along with a host of other health benefits.

Go out and play!

If you can’t seem to muster the energy for an “official” exercise session, bundle up and head outside to play instead. You’ll still burn calories, get your heart rate up and incorporate your muscles, but it will feel more like fun than a workout.
Enjoy the winter wonderland by making snow angels (about 214 calories burned per hour on average), having a snowball fight (about 319 calories burned), going sled-riding (about 400 calories) or even building a snowman (about 285 calories). No snow in your area? Try ice skating—an activity you can do inside or out to burn more than 450 calories per hour.
Remember to follow these recommended safety tips when venturing out into bitter-cold temps.

Walk the mall.

While mall walking is a common suggestion for staying active during winter, fitness trainer Catherine Basu of Fit Armadillo points out that it can have a greater benefit than all of that calorie-burning cardio. She suggests walking your local mall to find out about other free fitness events happening there.
“Athletic apparel stores like Lululemon and Lorna Jane often host free classes by certified instructors in their stores before opening,” she says. “These can be a great way to try out local instructors and mix up your routine without having to financially commit to the studio first. Attending these classes can also get you a discount on fitness gear and help you make new friends who will help you stay motivated.”
And if you’re thinking of starting a running routine in the new year, Basu points out that most specialty running shoe stores host weekly runs. In addition to getting to enjoy the camaraderie of the running group and motivation to get out the door, you may also be able to sign up for informational sessions with nutritionists and running coaches at these stores.

Try a hot yoga class.

When the cold weather has you feeling sluggish, sad or just plain unmotivated, fitness trainer Jill Brown suggests seeking out some heat—in the form of hot yoga. She loves these classes as a way to stay active and flexible during the winter months.
If you’ve never tried hot yoga before, be forewarned that they’re not easy. “Even though they only do a handful of postures, holding the poses in the heat is exhausting, but so refreshing at the end,” Brown says.
In addition to burning calories and increasing strength and flexibility, hot yoga can help to reduce stress and boost metabolism. Just be sure to check with your doctor first, stay hydrated and don’t push yourself too far, too fast. And if you’re a beginner, it might be best to start with a few regular (non-heated) yoga classes before cranking up the heat.

Try an indoor sport.

You don’t have to be an accomplished athlete—or even an amateur one—to enjoy the mental and physical benefits of indoor sports. There are plenty of athletic activities that take place outside of the elements, including volleyball, basketball, swimming and racquetball. After you’ve brushed up on the basics, Gupta points out that you could take it a step further by joining an existing team or getting your own team together and playing in a recreational league, as a commitment to staying active and accountable.

Volunteer in active ways.

The months after the holidays are a great time to help local people and communities in need. Look for volunteer opportunities that involve physical activity, such as working at a shelter or soup kitchen, gathering trash and litter, packing and shipping boxes for donation or shoveling snow or walking dogs for elderly residents. Check the National & Community Service website to find out how you can combine goal-setting with goodwill.

Work out at home.

Let’s face it, there will be times when inclement weather will make it impossible to exercise outdoors, or even drive to the gym. But snowy weather shouldn’t be an excuse to miss your workouts. Exercising at home can be a convenient (and fun!) way to stay on track while staying out of the elements.
Even if you don’t have a home gym, you can still get a full-body workout with no equipment other than a towel. “Balance Guy” Shane McLean recommends trying the following bodyweight routine to stay active in the warmth and comfort of home.
McLean suggests trying this quick bodyweight routine:

  • Bodyweight squat (10 reps)
  • Incline pushup (5 reps)
  • Jumping jacks (20 reps)

Repeat all three exercises for a total of two circuits.
Concentric Body Weight Training Repeat these exercises for a total of four circuits. Rest as little as possible between exercises and rest for one minute at the end of each circuit.
Although it’s tempting to stay snuggled up in your warm bed, colder weather shouldn’t be an excuse to let your fitness goals hibernate. With the right attitude and mix of exercises, the winter months can actually be a fantastic time to mix up your workouts, reignite your love of fitness and keep the winter blues at bay. And if you’re exercising outdoors, be sure to keep these cold-weather safety tips in mind.

10 ways to stay active during winter

Published: 1 July 2018

Being active during winter can be a challenge. It’s easy to go outside when it’s hot and you want to get to the beach or park. But when it’s cold, dark and rainy, being outdoors isn’t so much fun.

How much exercise should you do a day?

Regular exercise is important. Remember, we need to do at least 30 minutes a day but that can be 10 in the morning, and 20 in the evening. Or 10 minute bursts throughout the whole day. It’s whatever works for you.

Why is exercise important?

Exercise is good for our bodies and can help prevent heart disease. It’s also good for our minds, helping us to stay happy and feel great.

We need to be active for at least 30 minutes a day to be healthy. So how can we make sure we keep that up during the winter months? It’s easier than you think.

10 exercise motivation tips for winter

1. Plan ahead

Do you like to exercise outside? It’s time to layer up. Get prepared for cold weather and make sure your outdoor gear is ready for the drop in temperature.

Swap your summer active gear for winter clothes so you’re ready to brave the cold. If you haven’t got any, it might be a chance to treat yourself.

2. Take the stairs

It can be tempting to take the lift. But the more you walk upstairs, the easier it gets and the better you’ll feel. When you’re at work or out and about, make sure you take the stairs. Walking up those steps will soon add up.

3. Workout on your lunch break

It’s dark in the morning and dark in the evening. So when are we supposed to exercise? The answer is easy – lunchtime.

Walk around the block on your lunch break every day. Walking is great for your health and it’ll help clear your head. Get your work friends involved too.

4. Swim in hot pools

We may not be able to swim in the sea or lakes during winter, but we’ve still got hot pools. Head to your local heated pool for a day of swimming. The best thing is that both kids and adults will enjoy it.

5. Park far away from the supermarket entrance

Little things throughout the day all count towards exercise. Something as simple as parking far away from the supermarket entrance so you have to walk further to do your shopping is easy and you’ll barely notice the difference.

You can even thank the people that park close to the entrance, because they’re helping you get your exercise done.

6. Think of the long-term benefits of exercise

We often think about getting fit and healthy for summer. Then summer arrives before we know it and it’s too late. Try planning ahead. If you start or continue your exercise routine in winter, you’ll be ready for summer and it’ll be easier to carry on.

7. Find easy ways to walk inside

It’s no fun going for a walk on a rainy day. Cold, wet – no thanks! Instead, go for a walk around your local mall. Just make sure you avoid the junk food in the food court, we’re trying to be healthy here remember.

8. Find free ways to exercise at home

Why go to the gym in the cold and pay for a fitness class when you can get free exercise videos on YouTube? Simply search for exercise videos and take your pick. Clear some space in your lounge and let the fun begin. Invite your friends to join in for some extra motivation.

9. Try free family activities

Keeping kids entertained during winter can be a challenge. Luckily, the MyFamily website has plenty of ideas for free activities. From tafue (jump rope) to games with balloons and pretend hot lava. Heaps of active fun for free!

10. Do some chores

It’s time to get vacuuming, dusting and cleaning. Not only will your house get tidy but you’ll be moving around during the process. Make it fun by playing some music too.

So there we have it. 10 easy ways to stay active during winter without even getting cold. Who said exercise had to be hard?

For more tips on staying happy and healthy, visit our Pacific Heartbeat Facebook page and join in the conversation.

Ways to Stay Active in Winter

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SATURDAY, Jan. 28, 2017 (HealthDay News)—Adults should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day—even in the depths of winter, a leading group of dietary and nutrition professionals advises.

And children should get at least an hour of daily exercise, whatever the weather, the experts at the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics added.

If the ground is covered in ice or snow, however, outdoor activities like jogging or biking can be difficult, or even dangerous.

But cold weather isn’t an excuse for inactivity, the academy said in a news release. There are several ways families can stay active throughout the year.

The group recommends the following workouts that can been done indoors:

  • If it’s too cold outside, try walking in the local mall.
  • Avoid the elevator and escalators, and opt for the stairs instead.
  • Walk the hallways of your office building during your lunch hour or a coffee break.
  • Start spring cleaning a bit early. Vacuuming, cleaning closets and washing windows can help you stay active indoors.
  • Rather than curling up on the sofa and watching a movie, follow an exercise video or DVD.

Outdoor winter fun can also burn calories. Bundle up, head outside and enjoy the following physical activities:

  • Have a snowball fight.
  • Go ice skating.
  • Sled downhill and climb back up a few times.
  • Make snow angels in the yard.

SOURCE: American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, news release

11 ways to stay active in winter

Posted: November 2009


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