6 Ways to Stay Fit Despite Cold Weather
Getting motivated to exercise can be difficult any time of the year, but it’s particularly daunting when cold weather rolls in. Days become shorter, and the desire for comfort food can replace the desire to work up a sweat. But with careful planning, it’s easy to stay on track with your fitness goals.
- Think Like a Professional Athlete
Professional athletes need to work out year-round in order to maintain—if not grow—their level of fitness. Thinking like an athlete can help you stay focused during cold weather because it’s harder to get going after a long hiatus. The average person starts to lose muscle and strength—anywhere from 16.6% and 40.9%—between the ages of 30 and 40 and more so with age.
- Keep Your Immune System in Check
According to the CDC, just a few minutes of exercise per day can help prevent simple viral and bacterial infections. Regardless, with brisk temperatures comes cold and flu season, so it’s important to get adequate rest and eat properly. Get your vitamins from food rather than a pill with nutritious foods like leafy green vegetables; nuts; lean chicken, turkey, and fish; and legumes. Alcohol suppresses your immune system and can make it more difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, so consume it in a responsible manner or forgo it all together on a healthy detox plan.
- Mentally and Physically Prepare for Gym Jaunts
If you find the gym atmosphere motivating but you’re having a hard time motivating yourself to actually get there, plan ahead. That could mean setting out your clothes the night before or keeping a packed bag in your car at all times to discourage the temptation to bail. Make plans to meet a friend for a class so you can keep each other motivated—especially if it’s early in the morning when it’s still dark.
- Set Up a Home Gym
If you can’t bare the thought of leaving the house, set up a home gym. All it takes is a few sets of dumbbells in varied weights, jump rope, adaptable resistance bands, and a BOSU Balance Trainer. You don’t have to purchase everything at once. Take inventory of what you need based on the current workout DVDs, apps, or YouTube videos you’re using. Be sure to find adequate space within your home and get rid of any clutter that might distract you from your workout. A room with windows or soft lighting helps to create a more Zen-like atmosphere, and the addition of a mirror can help you monitor your form.
- Embrace the Great Outdoors
Instead of hiding from the cold, embrace it. You can still partake in activities like running and cycling as long as you’re adequately dressed. Moving outdoors can help you obtain a natural (and much-needed) dose of vitamin D while shaking you out of couch-potato mode. If snow is a part of the picture, mix things up by taking part of activities like cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowshoeing—many forest preserves and park districts rent equipment. Just remember to stay hydrated and be conscious of warning signs like slurred speech, slowed reactions, sleepiness, and severe shivering so you’re not at risk for hypothermia.
- Don’t Disregard Functional Movement
At the very least, make an effort to incorporate more functional movement into your day-to-day routine. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car at a distance from your final destination, get up often throughout the day, and turn average chores—like cleaning your home or shoveling snow—into an opportunity to burn some extra calories.
Staying Fit Is a Lifestyle
As with diet, staying active is a lifestyle choice, so just like there are occasions where you indulge on a piece of cake or another glass of wine, there will be days where you’ll want to stay by a roaring fireplace instead of lacing up your sneakers. The key is not to quit your routine, but to adapt it so that you stay motivated for the long haul. Look at a change in weather as an opportunity to change things up and challenge yourself to try something new.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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