Are you struggling to find ways to keep your active lifestyle over the winter? Are short, snowy days throwing a wrench in your workout routine? That doesn’t need to be the case! With a bit of motivation and some tips and tricks it will be easy to stay on track over the winter months.
Here are FITIV’s top tips and tricks for keeping up with your fitness over the winter:
Make space for home workouts
When the weather is getting you down and you’re stuck inside your workout plans can quickly become low priority. Too dangerous to drive to the gym? Not feeling motivated to dig yourself out from the snow? Nothing kills your motivation to exercise faster than these sorts of barriers. If you’re already prone to making excuses to not go to the gym these barriers will just give you fuel for more excuses. Simple solution? Find a way to work out from home.
A home gym setup doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy a yoga mat and some type of weights and you’re good to go.
Clear some space in your living room, check out some home fitness videos and destroy your excuses. Because your workout won’t depend on trekking through the cold you’re much more likely to find the time.
Leverage snow and ice for your fitness
If you live in a snowy climate you’re probably aware of how much work snow can be. Because snow is both very heavy and very inconvenient, shovelling and clearing snow is a pretty big job. Have you thought about using this work toward your fitness goals? Snow shovelling, ice chipping, and digging objects out of snowbanks can be a great total-body workout. It combines cardiovascular effort and lifting, pushing and moving heavy weight to target your core, back, arms and legs.
Make sure that you warm up first! Treat snow removal like you would any other workout. Make sure you warm up, stretch, dress appropriately and hydrate. Keep an eye on your form and feel for body pains to avoid tearing or straining your muscles. Maybe you’ve heard reports of snow shovelling leading to heart attacks, and when you really think it through it makes a lot of sense.
Shovelling can be very physically demanding, but most people don’t think of it as exercise. After your sidewalks are clear you might feel more exhausted than you would after an hour of CrossFit, but chances are you don’t think of the two activities the same. Any intense physical activity can be dangerous without the proper preparation.
Don’t have a driveway or sidewalk to shovel? Try taking an altruistic stance. There are probably people in your neighbourhood who would appreciate the help you could give in cleaning and clearing their spaces. When you ask friends, family and neighbours if they need any help clearing their snow you can torch calories while helping others, which certainly seems like a win-win to us!
Get outside anyway
One big contributor to the winter blues is spending too much time cooped up inside. Studies show that spending time outdoors will improve your mood, reduce your anxiety and improve your overall wellbeing. It might be hard to get out into the world when it’s cold outside, but there are a lot of benefits to bundling up and getting out there.
Going out for a walk or a run is a great way to get started. The thing is, once you’re deep in the winter blues it’s much harder to take that first step to get out there. Whether you’re looking to hit the gym or take a walk, the first step toward getting outdoors in the winter is usually the hardest.
If exercising outdoors isn’t an option for you, consider spending more time near windows or investing in a daylight lamp. Working out next to a window is an easy way to reap some of the benefits of natural sunlight without the risks of being outdoors in the winter. Exercise will boost your mood and help you feel happier, even if you’re stuck inside most of the time.
Try a winter sport
Even if you’re normally not into the cold, trying a winter sport can make you forget about the freezing cold. It’s hard to feel dread about the winter when you’re full of excitement about your opportunities for activities! Try a few different winter sports to find one that speaks to you.
Do you love hiking in the summer months? Try snowshoeing as a winter alternative since it will give you the peaceful time in nature you’re probably craving.
Are you a cyclist? Skiing or snowboarding are great ways to feel that same rush without the risks of icy roads.
Outdoor rinks or ice surfaces can be low-cost ways to keep active and spend time outdoors, and activities as simple as a snowball fight can take the bleakness out of winter.
At FITIV we believe that all activity matters, and that finding activity that you love is the best way to make long-lasting lifestyle changes. Don’t discount activities like playing with your kids, sledding, or building a snowman. Make sure you take every opportunity to move your body when those chances come up.
Just like how overdressing for a summer run can impact your performance or put your health at risk, not preparing enough for your wintertime activities can be a very bad idea. The cold can affect every part of your body, form your skin to your lungs, so it’s important to prepare. Winter conditions are different from summer conditions.
It’s important to take care of your extremities when the temperature dips below freezing. You lose heat from all parts of your body, not just your core. Make sure to cover your head, next and hands when you’re spending lots of time outdoors. Consider covering your face, any any other exposed skin when it’s particularly cold. Consider wearing brighter, more reflective clothing than usual if you know that you will be out when the sun is setting. Remember to keep your footing even when the roads are slippery and always prioritize your wellbeing over any specific workout.
What to take away
Overall, don’t be afraid of the winter. Though it can be tough to keep motivated on your fitness journey when the world is cold and the days are short, it’s worth it. The benefits to your mental and physical health are immeasurable.
Taking the first step toward getting active in the winter is the best first step to keep your health and activity up. Remember, summer is right around the corner so now is the time to start working toward being your fittest, most energetic self! Get started today!
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