Winter seems to do everything it can to prevent us from being active. The cold weather makes you want to just curl up under a blanket and not move until it's warm again. Going out for a walk, run, or bike ride is no longer an option for most people as soon as the temps drop below 40 degrees F. And then the snow hits? Forget about it! People often turn to the treadmill or stationary bike as an indoor alternative but quickly become bored with that. So the end result is to give up until the warm weather returns. This cycle of losing weight in the summer and then gaining it back again in the winter is common but it doesn't have to be the norm! Here are some tips for how you can stay active in the winter months.
1. Take the stairs
You should always try to take the stairs if you are able to but this is especially important during the winter months! Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even just taking a break from work and climbing a few flights is an easy way to get your heart rate up and work those leg muscles. And you don't even have to put on a coat! Added bonus: It helps warm you up if you have a cold office.
2. Focus on strength training
You don't need to go outside to do some strength training. Although you might not break as much of a sweat as you do with a cardio workout, strength training is just as effective, if not more effective, than cardio for weight loss. Building muscle helps you to burn more calories even when you are not working out! Treat yourself by buying a set of hand weights or resistance bands or just grab some soup cans if you want to start small! Create your own circuit workout if you already know some exercises or search online for at-home workouts! If you aren't sure how to do a certain exercise, be sure to consult a professional to learn proper form. Start by setting aside just 30 minutes 2-3 days per week.
3. Try a fitness class or other indoor activity
If you normally run or walk outside for exercise, use this time to try a new (indoor) activity! Search for local classes, try an indoor rock climbing facility, or get in touch with your inner kid and try an indoor trampoline park (many offer fitness classes)!
4. Make a rule that you will get up every hour
It's easy to get caught up in your work and forget to move around. Set an alarm on your phone or put a reminder in your calendar to get up for 5 minutes every hour and move! You can walk around your building, climb some stairs, or just do some exercises at your desk.
5. Embrace the cold
There's no rule that says you can't workout in the cold! Buy some cold weather gear and get out there with your usual routine! Or try a winter activity like skiing or ice skating. These can both be great exercise and may work some new muscles!
6. Use a fitness tracker
Fitness trackers can be very helpful in these less active months because they keep you aware of how much your activity changes. If you see that you are averaging 2,000 steps per day in December when you were averaging 15,000 in September then you know you are a victim of the cold weather slump! This type of feedback may motivate you to go try one of our tips and add some more activity to your day.
Stay Healthy this Winter!
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