Staying fit is a challenge at any time of the year but, during the winter, it is especially hard when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a warm blanket eating bonbons, popcorn and drinking hot CHOCOLATE. DON’T! That is the worst thing you can do for your waistline. So, what can you do instead? Good question. In short, EXERCISE!
The good news is that winter might be the perfect time to burn more fat than when the sun is shining. Research studies suggest that once your body gets used to the cold temperature, it burns fat quicker because deposits of what is known as brown fat are activated as the body adapts and gets warmer. Hooray! This is great news.
Exercise is also a great way to get warm and beat the winter blues. Many studies link increased exercise to better moods for people with depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Try to exercise outside during the daylight hours (e.g. think about walking around the block at lunchtime), you’ll get more of that much-needed vitamin D from sunlight, which is excellent for bones, teeth, and muscles.
Below are some of my top x suggestions as to how to get off your behind and move in order to make the most of the winter months.
Lay out your exercise clothes and tennis shoes the night before. Pack your duffel bag and plan both your post-workout outfit for the day and your post-workout snack, something light that you could eat right away, like fruit or an energy bar.
Remember to warm up inside first, just 5 to minutes will do. Do some low-level aerobic exercise like jogging in place or doing jumping jacks. That way by the time you step outside, you'll already be warm.
If you don’t want to brace the cold, exercise equipment at home is a good solution. Get a stair climber, stationary bike, elliptical glider or some free weights, they are all great ways to work the body. Just remember to make it fun. You might, for example, place a TV in front of a treadmill so you don't get too bored or jump rope with your kids.
Hit the Gym
Gyms are also a good solution if you don’t want to go outside. You can also try an aerobics class, dancing, squash, hot or regular yoga, circuit training, and swimming, are all great ways to end the day instead of overeating, drinking, and watching TV.
Call A Friend
Friends help keep you motivated and help you stick to plans. If you have someone else that you have made a promise to then the likelihood that you will make it to your walk, workout or gym session are higher. It is also nice because you can have someone to chat with to pass the time quicker. If you can’t find a buddy willing to go the extra mile, then joining a running club, boot camp, or group activity is a good way to go.
For outdoor winter exercise, the right clothing will definitely make a big difference to your workout. Dressing in layers is best, so that you can peel them off as your body temperature increases. Try exercise-specific fabrics that dry quicker than cotton. Such as a lightweight top made of technical fabric, fleece coat or waterproof raincoat, running tights or sweatpants, warm knitted hat, and gloves. Bright colors or white clothes with reflective strips are best for those dark winter mornings and nights.
Treat yourself to something delicious like a square or two of chocolate. It will help to motivate you to exercise and it’s also something to look forward to. Just don’t overdo it. Don’t eat the whole tub of ice cream or the entire bar of chocolate. A bit goes a long way. The rest of the time, you need to eat some energy-rich carbohydrates such as whole grains and potatoes with the skins on, as well as some protein, which helps build and repair muscle. Good food options to eat include fish, eggs, and beans. Add vegetables, salads, and fruit also. Many people advocate using supplements to help shed unwanted pounds, but make sure you are getting a quality supplement.
Final Thoughts On Staying Fit
Don’t be a hermit. Go out and enjoy the winter. It’s important to find something you love to do rather than making exercise a chore.