Working out is hard enough without having to worry about the weather outside. When the temperature starts to dip, so does our motivation to work up a sweat. Staying in under the covers only seems that much more appealing. However, no matter what it’s like outside, it’s still important to work on your fitness. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only helps with maintaining your physical health, but also your mental health. This is especially important during the winter months when you’re probably already moving less than you normally would.
Staying fit in the winter can be a ton of fun, despite the weather outside. Just be cautious before, during and after your workout. This means wearing the right gear, staying safe during your activity and staying hydrated. Layers are especially important when it comes to braving the elements. A buddy can be great in staying safe it never hurts to have another set of eyes to look out for slippery patches. Here are some ways to get in a fun and safe workout indoors and outdoors, regardless of what’s going on outside.
Warm up well
One of the most important parts of getting out in the cold is making sure that you’re appropriately warmed-up. It’s really easy to get injured in the cold, and the best way to prevent an injury is proper preparation. Start out by doing some light jogging or getting some dynamic stretches in before you really take it up a notch.
Photo: By Björn Laczay
Even if you’re properly prepared, despite your good intentions, sometimes it’s just too darn cold outside. Experts usually recommend you staying inside if the windchill is in the negative numbers. You should try to target the daylight hours, just because the temperature is more likely to be warmer and you can see those pesky patches of ice that crop up on the ground. Also, if you’ve been out for a while, be sure to know the signs of frostbite, just in case. It usually begins with numbness, followed by tingling or burning sensations.
Photo: By Rex Roof
Take full advantage of the season and grab a few friends to join in on this fun workout. Even if there aren’t permanent rinks near you, more than likely there’s a seasonal pop-up at a popular local spot. It can be a great way to celebrate the season while boosting your heart health.
Photo: By Marco Verch
Even if it’s cold outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t heat things up inside with some yoga. No matter if it’s a rigorous hot yoga class at a studio or a relaxing session at home, it’s important to warm up your joints and achieve balance no matter the weather. Just be sure that you are properly dressed for before and after so you don’t catch a cold.
Photo: By Bearas
Not all exercise is created equally. You don’t have to be breaking out in a sweat to do something good for your heart. Walking has been known to be good for maintaining your waistline, improve heart health and strengthen your joints. This is a great excuse to stroll down the street and take in the holiday lights or walk around the mall while getting your holiday shopping done.
Photo: By Tony Webster
Despite the temperatures outside, it's still possible to get in a safe run. Just make sure you’re wearing all the right gear. This means protecting your extremities with hats and gloves if necessary while also ensuring that you’re covering up your legs and arms with weather-friendly attire. The general rule of thumb is to add 10 to 20 degrees to get your “running temperature” in order to figure out what to wear. Also make sure that you're careful with your footwear — if it’s icy or slippery, be sure you keep an eye out for the ground or wear trail-running shoes.
Sticking to the gym might be your best option on some snowy days. Grab a friend and go to the gym to try out a machine you might have never used before. You can make a competition for yourselves to see who can go farthest on the elliptical in 30 minutes or who can do the most sit-ups in 30 seconds. Whatever it is, make gym time fun time.
Photo: By U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Phillip Houk
If the gym isn’t your thing and all you want is to move, go to a dance class nearby! It’s a great way to get in your cardio without having to brave the wintry night. There are fun classes that involve everything from hip-hop, Zumba, salsa and ballroom dancing. If you're intimidated going on your own, drag a friend along!