Winter is the most difficult time for fitness. The cold weather keeps us from jogs or trips to the gym; the holiday season brings along treats, cocktails, sugary lattes and indulgent meals; the desire to stay warm and comfortable makes us more sedentary; and because we wear heavier clothes there’s not as much pressure to maintain a “beach body” figure. It’s no wonder so many people pack on the pounds during the winter months though there are biological explanations as well.
Due to all of these reasons a lot of people are always seeking out creative or effective ways to stay fit over the holidays and through the cold season. These are four tips you may not have considered.
1.) Go For Long Walks
The idea that going for a walk can benefit your health is not exactly groundbreaking. However, planning on a walking routine during the winter is something new for a lot of people. It can be uncomfortable to exercise outside in cold weather, because heavy physical exertion can leave you with that sharp feeling in your throat, and your outer extremities can get very cold very quickly; sweat only makes things worse, and when you’re both wet and chilly you run the risk of getting sick. However, a long walk in cold weather can be pleasant. You can bundle up as much as you’d like, throw on a pair of headphones or grab a friend or family member, and walk for miles if you so choose, achieving a light but meaningful cardio benefit and keeping yourself from sitting around too much during the season.
2.) Drink Sensibly
We won’t commentate too much on alcohol consumption because different people have different views on the subject, and everyone has different drinking tendencies. We will state broadly though that many people find themselves somewhat more comfortable indulging during the holidays, and often that can be sweet Christmas-themed cocktails, or mixed drinks served at holiday parties. It’s not a major vice in moderation, but you may want to consider the calories when sipping on adult beverages this season. The misconception that liquor-based drinks have fewer calories can lead to your packing on a few pounds, whereas a bit of wine or light beer here and then can have a lesser impact.
3.) Plan An End-of-Winter Event
Motivation plays a big role in fitness for a lot of people, and as mentioned winter doesn’t pack the pressure of an impending beach season. Throw in the fact that most of the events (namely, the holidays) are early on, and there’s really nothing you have to look your best for late in the winter, which for many people means it’s okay to lapse a little bit. It’s a simple psychological trick to play on yourself, but you may want to consider a late-winter event specifically for this reason. Our suggestion? Host a Super Bowl party, and invite all your friends. The game usually takes place on the last Sunday in January or the first in February, meaning it gives you a little more than a month after Christmas. And since someone’s always having a Super Bowl party anyway, it may as well be you!
4.) Take Up Yoga On Your Own
It may be the biggest misconception in all of fitness today that you need to be in a group setting or under supervision from an instructor to take up yoga. This may still be the best way to do it, and it’s certainly an option, but thanks to the wonders of the app economy, you can also dive into a full-fledged yoga routine on your own with nothing more than a mobile phone and a folded blanket or a carpet. Some of the better apps involve small subscription fees, granted, but they offer pretty comprehensive training programs which – more to the point – are ideal for efficient, in-home exercise during the cooler seasons. Yoga serves to get your blood flowing, lower your blood pressure, burn calories, increase flexibility, and tone muscle all at once, and you don’t need to leave your bedroom to do it. It’s the ideal winter workout.