This is the time of the year when the sun sets earlier, the air becomes chilly, and snowflakes are in the forecast. As children, we may have heard that bears hibernate in the winter, but do humans do the same?
The winter chill and holiday season can create potential barriers when it comes to being consistent with your regular exercise routine. One of the biggest barriers is lack of time.
The American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) recommends that adults ages 18 to 65 years without major medical limitations should strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, five days a week, or vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, three days a week. ACSM also recommends that adults perform activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance for a minimum of two days a week.
With requirements like these the weather may make it difficult to drive to the gym or studio or even go for a stroll outside. The idea behind winter exercise is to make it convenient and most importantly fun! I mean who likes to be bored anyway?
Here are five ways to help you stay fit and active this winter while having fun doing it!
1. Move it indoors
If during the fall months you were taking advantage of Mother Nature’s beauty by exercising outdoors, you may want to consider indoor-based exercise during winter’s colder temperatures. Check out a local gym that is conveniently located to home or work. When looking for a gym always make sure they have everything you may be looking for (group classes, trainers, quality equipment, aquatic exercise, and sauna & steam room; just to name a few). Don’t be afraid to ask for a free trial pass. Most gyms will let you trial their facility before you sign a contract. If you’re not looking for a gym membership, you can check out some local studios for yoga, barre, cross fit, kickboxing, or personal/group training facilities.
2. Use technology to exercise
Take out those smart devices and download a new exercise application. Did you know there are about 1,000 health and fitness related applications out there? You can choose from free or inexpensive training apps that act like a personal trainer right on your phone, or you can try yoga or other free guided workouts.
3. Go for a walk inside
Use your office building for a nice stroll during a lunch break. Maybe even climb some stairs! Take a trip to the mall, supermarket, or any warehouse type store. These places tend to have controlled temperatures and comfortable surfaces to walk on (decrease your risk of falling on ice outside!)
4. DVD or On-Demand Fitness videos
Exercise in front of your TV or computer, in the comfort of your own home! You can choose from brand name subscription programs, celebrity fitness trainers, and classes in Pilates or yoga. Don’t forget YouTube. YouTube provides its viewers with a wide variety of instructional exercise videos. Be sure to read the description below the video before getting started to make sure the video is appropriate for you and the instructor is certified.
5. Track your steps
Are you getting 10,000 steps a day? Try using a wearable electronic activity tracker or a good old-fashioned pedometer to monitor activity and motivate you from day to day. You can always get some co-workers or friends to commit to a challenge and make it more fun. Don’t forget, if you have a smart phone it is most likely counting your steps for you in your phone’s health application. Just make sure you keep your phone with you whenever you’re on the move to get an accurate step count. Or you can consider joining Global Challenge. Through this initiative, teams around the world compete for 100 days each year to improve their physical and psychological health.
Now that you know there are so many ways to stay active in the winter, there is no excuse for hibernating. Just get moving. You will feel so much better.