Baby, it's cold outside. And, if you're like me, winter weather can sometimes make working out seem less than desirable. After all, who likes to dress like a mummy to go for a run, or risk slipping on ice when out for a walk? Even heating up the car in the wee hours of the morning to get to the gym for your favorite Spinning class can be quite tough!
Although you may want to stay snuggled up in your warm bed, winter shouldn't be a time that your fitness plans hibernate—especially with all of those holiday treats around. With the right attitude and mix of exercises, winter can actually be a fantastic time to mix up your workouts, get creative and even reignite your love of fitness by trying new, fun activities. Not to mention, exercise can help you beat those winter blues!
How to Make the Most of Winter Workouts
Change your mind. Winter isn't just about cold weather, it's a whole new season! Embrace the time of year by sitting down and revisiting your goals, then plan out what you'd like to accomplish during the next few months. We're all so busy these days that time seems to fly, which is why it's important to reflect on our past accomplishments and current goals. It can help you see winter in a new, inspired light.
Go out and play! If you can't seem to muster the energy to work out this time of year, try "playing" instead. You can burn quite a few calories playing indoors or out. The best part about playing is that it doesn't feel like working out—though you can still get your heart rate up and have an excellent cardio session. Have a blast in the winter wonderland outside by making snow angels (214 calories burned per hour on average), having a snowball fight (319 calories burned per hour), or even building a snowman (285 calories burned per hour). No snow in your area? Try ice skating—an activity you can do indoors or outdoors. Ice skating can burn more than 450 calories per hour—and it's a blast!
Take up a winter sport. If you're a competitive type, why not try a new winter sport? From skiing to snowshoeing, there are many great options that burn mega calories and put a whole new twist on your cold-weather workout plans.
Get creative at home. Sure, getting to the gym can be more of a hassle when it is cold outside, but never use snowy weather as an excuse to miss your daily exercise. Instead, work out at home, where's it's cozy and warm. Whether you pop in a new workout DVD, invest in a few pieces of fitness equipment or even just use your body weight for a killer workout, exercising at home can be a convenient (and fun!) solution to staying on track. And the best part about working out from your own home? You don't have to worry about sharing a TV with fellow gym goers or possibly catching an illness at the gym. Home really is where the (healthy) heart is.
Try something new. There's nothing like signing up for a new class or joining an indoor sports league to get you up and moving during chilly months. By trying something new, you reignite your motivation for fitness, cold weather and all! Whether it's indoor volleyball, a dodgeball league, a bootcamp class or even tennis lessons at a local indoor racquet club, participating in a regular activity that you've paid for (or have teammates counting on you to play in) is a fantastic way to stay active in the winter time. You might even make some new friends or learn some new skills.
Set a big goal—and some little goals. If winter weather leaves your motivation to exercise colder than an icicle, heat things up with a challenging, new goal. It can be anything from losing those last 10 pounds, to running a 5K (yes, you can still run outside in the cold) or even doing a full pull-up, but choose a goal that you really want and that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone to reach it. Setting a smart goal that you then break down into smaller, achievable action steps is a great way to start. Instead of focusing on simply working out this winter, this type of goal-setting allows you to focus on the bigger picture—your dreams.
Get excited. If you've never been a winter fan, start focusing on what you do love about it and how this time of year provides new opportunities for your fitness and health. From eating delicious in-season produce (oranges, kale, and chestnuts, oh my!), to curling up with a big mug of sugar-free hot cocoa in front of the fireplace after a long workout, there is much to love about winter when you embrace and appreciate it.
While there are many great workout options this winter, be sure you always stay safe no matter what you do—especially if you decide to enjoy the winter weather outdoors. Here are some safety tips to follow. But most of all, have fun out there. It's a wonderful time of year—enjoy it!