Successfully Staying in Shape During the Winter
Winter is typically the time of year when we let down our guard when it comes to exercise and fitness. The cold winter evenings lend themselves more toward snuggling by a fire than to taking a jog or lifting weights. We also tend to want to eat more comfort food in the winter, which is probably an instinctual, protective response to inclement weather. It’s no wonder that between the months of November and February people find themselves giving up their exercise routines and giving into hot cocoa on the couch. The result is unwanted weight gain. To battle this dilemma, a conscious effort is needed to stay active in the winter time since, physiologically, our metabolism may slow down, and studies show that we burn fewer calories in the winter. Here are a few tips to keep your body from going into hibernation this winter.
- Set up some exercise equipment in the living room and exercise while watching television or, at least, during the commercials. Getting your heart pumping for even two minutes at a time will help you maintain your fitness levels. Just be sure to remember to bring your heart rate down slowly by walking in place.
- Invest in an interactive video game that the whole family can get involved in. Dancing or simulated sports is a fantastic way to stay active no matter how cold and wet the weather is outdoors. Also, it is a great way for the whole family to have fun and spend time together.
- Clean the house. Winter is a good time to do some of the cleaning and organizing chores that you won’t be motivated to do when the weather is nice outside. Going through closets, organizing drawers, shampooing carpets, mopping and vacuuming are all tasks that burn loads of calories and getting those tasks done will give you a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Forget spring cleaning. Do the menial tasks in the winter so that you can enjoy the outdoors in the spring and summer months.
- Take advantage of the sunny days. Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you can’t ever go outside. Sunny, cold days can be very invigorating. Bundle up and take a brisk walk or jog around the neighborhood. It’s stimulating and fun and, as a bonus, you will be adding to your overall health by helping your body replenish the much-needed vitamin D provided by the sun. Many people become deficient in this essential vitamin during the winter months because of the lack of exposure to the sun.
The extremes of winter can be de-motivating when it comes to maintaining health and fitness. The shorter days and the cold, wet weather tend to cause people to become a little bit lazier, but staying fit in the winter doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it doesn’t take that much time or effort to simply maintain your current fitness level. Don’t let the winter weather keep you from staying active. Your body will thank you when spring arrives.