As temperatures dip and snow is in the air, you may feel more in the mood for sipping eggnog by the fire than for crushing workouts. But even without a gym membership, you can maintain small changes and wise decisions during the colder months. Making use of these five tips will help you counteract the holiday feasting with healthy habits, and keep you on track for living healthy.
Five tips for maintaining health and fitness in the cold:
1) Be Prepared: Particularly if you continue to run outdoors during the winter months, make sure you layer up accordingly to protect yourself from the biting chill. Shorter days also mean less daylight in the mornings and evenings, so consider reflective bands to make yourself visible in the dark. One of the most important factors for energized and focused workouts is a motivating playlist, so prepare your music in advance and switch it up often enough to keep it effective. And if you’d rather avoid the outdoors in the winter but don’t have a gym membership, investing in some basic equipment (ie. small weights and resistance bands) for callisthenic exercises at home will ensure that you’re never without exercising options.
2) Be Accountable: Schedule frequent workouts with a friend to keep yourself motivated. The holidays are undoubtedly one of the busiest seasons of the year, and it can be tough to find time to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. But planning to work out with a friend that you’ve been wanting to catch up with anyway can kill two birds with one stone. You can also challenge each other to try something new, and give yoga or a spin class a try.
3) Be Adventurous: The colder months introduce an entire menu of winter sports! Maybe try snowboarding or skiing for the first time, or consider revisiting an activity that you last enjoyed in childhood. Joining your kids for an ice skating or sledding session, for example, can make family time physically rewarding as well. Or add some callisthenics the next time you make snow angels, by doing snow sit ups and planks while you’re down there.
4) Stay Hydrated: To counter all the boozy beverages you may be enjoying at Christmas parties, make sure that you up your regular water intake. This is particularly important while exercising in winter because thirst isn’t as obvious in the cold. But your body is still expending energy and sweating, so make sure you rehydrate!
5) Maximize Flexibility: Switching up the focus of your regular workouts in the winter can ensure variety and a balance of physical benefits. If your main goal is usually strength training, prioritizing flexibility gains can be a great way to take advantage of time spent indoors, as stretching can be done anywhere! And of course, soaking in your hot tub surrounded by snow is one of the best parts of winter. Increasing the frequency of your soaks and following them with a stretching session will help you stay limber in the cold weather. Maybe also try adding a yoga or pilates video for a full cold weather routine.