When the weather outside is frightful, being inside can feel so delightful. The only issue with that approach? It keeps us sedentary and stationery, creating a whole host of health concerns ranging from weight gain to increased back, neck, and hip pain.
So, what’s the answer? Is there a way to stay active during the winter without taking up arctic sports like ice climbing? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Here are nine of our favorite ways to get your heart rate up and keep your body healthy, even during the coldest months of the year.
9 Tips to Add Activity to Your Winters
If you live in a cold environment, you know exactly how tough it can be to motivate yourself to do anything during the winter months. After all, who wants to leave the house when the thermometer hasn’t come up above zero?
This winter, try these nine tips to stay in shape without putting yourself at risk of frostbite:
1. Look for Indoor Activities First
If you’re a member at a local gym or fitness center, take a look at their winter schedule. Many gyms do indoor boot camps or fitness course designed to cater to people who want to keep working out but don’t want to venture into the great outdoors. Not only are these courses a great way to stay in shape, but they’re also a fun way to try something new, meet new people, and improve your functional fitness.
2. Put Activities on the Calendar
Each Sunday, sit down and plan out your week of activities. Put them in the calendar as if you were scheduling a meeting, and treat them with the same level of obligation. This serves two important purposes.
First of all, it requires you to be intentional about your weekly activities and to think about what you need to fit in if you’re trying to meet a weekly goal (a certain number of steps per week, for example, or total activity minutes). Secondly, it forces you to be creative and decreases the likelihood that you’ll run into a motivation slump and forget to work out.
3. Use Your High-Energy Hours to Your Advantage
There are certain times of the day that you feel more active than others. Maybe you get up to power walk at 6 am all summer, but you can’t drag yourself out of bed before seven all winter long. Instead of fighting that, learn to work with it. Identify the times of the day when your energy levels are highest, and take advantage of them. Instead of trying to work out at the end of a workday, when you’re bone-tired, fit in a quick swim or a brisk hike in the morning hours, when you’re feeling energized and awake.
4. Dress Appropriately
If you are going to venture outside, make sure you’re dressed for the elements. This means investing in high-quality layers that allow you the freedom to move and the warmth to stay out for as long as you want. For best results, look for active layers that wick moisture away from the body and keep you warm. Use a base layer, insulative layer, and top layer and carry a backpack or bag with you to stash the additional layers when you don’t need them any longer.
5. Bring a Buddy
It’s hard enough to get outside during the winter, but it can be quite a bit easier when you bring a friend along. This winter, grab a buddy and try something new. Nordic skiing, for example, is an excellent, low-impact activity that provides some cardio and strength-training all at once. If you don’t want to invest in new equipment, head to your local sports store to rent a setup for the day. What better way to stay active than to try something new?
6. Go for a Walk
Love walking but hate risking life and limb on sheets of ice? Take your walks indoors during the winter months. Even the most bare-bones fitness centers have a few treadmills, and it’s easy to hammer out a few miles after work or during your lunch break, If you’re one of the many people who gets bored on a treadmill bring your favorite podcast, book, or TV show with you and treat your exercise window as a time to double-up on the things you love.
7. Sign up for Holiday Runs
Most communities do easy “fun runs” around the holidays. These runs – usually in the form of 5K walk/run races – are a great way to get outside and be active, without taking it to the nines. For a great experience, grab a few friends or your family, bundle up, and get out there! Bonus – most of these races send their proceeds directly to charity.
8. Adjust Your Expectations
For many people, activity levels naturally dip a bit in the winter, and that’s not always something to be worried about. Instead of treating your workout regimen like a requirement, allow yourself some flexibility.
For example, trade your morning run for a brisk walk, or swap an outdoor HIIT class for yoga. It’s all about balance during the winter months, and committing to that philosophy will help you stay healthy and injury-free. Even if you start small, the most important thing is simply to start.
9. Take the Stairs
Every little bit counts when it comes to staying active during the winter. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the three blocks to the local corner store instead of driving, or do some air squats in your living room. It’s the little things that combine to make up a healthy life.
Welcome to Your Most Active Winter Yet
Winter doesn’t mean the end of your regular activities. Instead, follow the tips in this post to make this winter your most active, healthy season yet! Need a skilled chiropractor to partner with you during the journey? Contact our offices to schedule your appointment today!