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6 Ways to Stay Active this Winter


In the spring and summer, getting outside seems easy – the days are longer and the warm weather makes it enjoyable to walk, run, hike, bike and more outside. Plus, you’re motivated to maintain your fitness and activity level with the possibility of having to don a bathing suit.

But when the winter rolls around, you’re faced with cold temperatures, less daylight, snow, sleet and ice. On cold winter days, the last thing you may feel like doing is exercising. But the benefits to your health from regular physical activity don’t change with the seasons.

Regular exercise can help you lose or control your weight, improve your mood, boost your energy, and help you sleep better. Physical activity can also help lower your risk or help you manage chronic health conditions and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis pain, and some forms of cancer.

Now that’s motivation.

Despite the weather outside, here are 6 ways you can stay active during the changing seasons.

1. Build a Collection of Fitness Videos and DVDs

The days of fitness videos featuring women in leotards and sweatbands are long gone. There are so many videos and DVDs out there now for whatever type of exercise you’re interested in. Whether you’re drawn to yoga, Pilates, intense cardiovascular workouts, bodyweight exercises or any other type of exercise, there’s a DVD for that. You can even purchase fitness regimen DVDs like P90X, Insanity and 21 Day Fix – these types of fitness series include a variety of workouts and give you a schedule of when to do them…all from the comfort of your warm home.

2. Create a Home Gym

Building a home gym sounds like an expensive endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of fitness tools and equipment that are relatively inexpensive that also don’t take up much space in your home. Some of these items include a jump rope, resistance bands, a yoga mat, weighted medicine balls, hand weights, a yoga ball and kettle bells. After you do some research to make sure you’re practicing proper form, crank up some fun music and start sweating with these tools in the privacy of your own home.

3. Use a Fitness Tracker

Try out technology to motivate you to keep moving. Wearable fitness trackers have gotten popular not only because they track how many steps you take each day, but because they tend to inspire people to try to take more steps than they have in the past. They also can show you how many calories you’re burning on a daily basis, how well you’re sleeping, how much water you drink each day and more. They give you a snapshot of your healthy habits each day to help you become aware of where you may want to improve. If you’d like to lose weight, fitness trackers and other smartphone apps can give you tips on how to start and help you track your progress.

4. Find a Workout Buddy or Sign Up for Group Fitness

If you’re a gym-goer, you may find it difficult to go early in the morning or at night after work when it’s cold and dark out – not to mention if your windshield is still frozen in the early morning hours. If you find yourself easily talking yourself out of going to the gym, try finding a workout buddy or signing up for a group fitness class. If you and your buddy schedule a time to meet at the gym and work out together, that person will hold you accountable to show up. You’ll also be helping your buddy maintain their exercise routine.

The same accountability to show up comes into play when you sign up for a fitness class – you can bet the trainer will start asking why you didn’t show up. And, just like fitness DVDs, there are a wide range of group fitness classes offered at gyms, studios and rec centers; this means it’s not only convenient to attend one, but helps ensure that you thoroughly enjoy it and want to go.

5. Go skiing or Snowboarding

Embrace the winter season and head to a local skiing or snowboarding slope. The sport of skiing involves the physical, mental, social and emotional aspects of wellness – skiing can improve your balance, coordination, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and muscle, bone and joint strength. Snowboarding is also a great and fun workout. It works your leg and abdominal muscles, improves your balance, gets your heart and blood pumping and burns calories.

6. Just Get Outside

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy being active outside. When it snows, go outside to play with your kids – you’ll be having so much fun together, you won’t realize you’re also getting a workout. Making snow angels can burn an average of more than 200 calories per hour, a snowball fight can burn more than 300 calories per hour, and building a snowman can even burn close to 300 calories per hour.

If you’re a runner, you don’t have to limit yourself to a treadmill in the winter. Running outside in the colder temperatures may burn more calories since your body has to work harder to keep warm. If you decide to brave the winter temperatures for a run, try doing your warm upside your home to ensure you’re already feeling warm when you step outside. Even though you anticipate getting warm in the midst of your run, you should wear layers – you can remove some of them as your body temperature increases.