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How to Stay Fit in the Colder Months

How to Stay Fit in the Colder Months

Recently, I’ve been talking about how exposing yourself to extreme cold or heat for short amounts of time can be good for you.

And while there hasn't been negative feedback to the articles, I know that plenty of people don’t like to be too hot or too cold.

Which I get.   

That being true, remaining comfortable is actually one of the leading causes of declining physical activity in the summer and winter.

You may be the kind of person who doesn’t want to venture out to exercise when it’s 100+ degrees, just as you might not want to go out when it’s below freezing.

Again, I totally understand.

However, as a physician, my job isn’t to tell people what they want to hear but what they need to hear. The truth of the matter is you must move in order to remain healthy. Regardless if it’s too hot or too cold.

On top of that, being outside is considerably better for you regarding health than being inside. I’ve written about this in a number of articles, and that’s why I’m writing this article, too.

Granted, not everything I suggest today will take you outdoors in the colder months. But some of the activities I recommend will certainly take you outside, and there’s good reason for that.

Most important, though, is that this article is geared towards keeping you moving all year long. Movement is essential for health as it ought to be, and I hope that you can use some of the information I’ve written here to find that you remain happy and healthy the whole winter long.

Do This During the Winter To Remain Happy and Healthy

The winter (and especially the holidays) can be a difficult time to thrive.

The days are shorter and colder.

The sun is out less (which can impact mental health), and the holidays can actually have a negative impact on mental and physical health, too.

In this article, I’ll explore exercise tips for cold weather, including indoor workouts, outdoor activities, and family-friendly fitness ideas to keep you and your loved ones moving and healthy during the winter months.

This may be one of my least “scientific” articles, but I believe it could be one of the most helpful.

With that, let me dig in.

Let me also preface this by saying the following:

If you’re worried about your physical health, you should always consult your physician or health care professional to make sure these activities are beneficial and not harmful.

Here’s what I mean.

Every year, people who aren’t in the best physical condition go outside during the winter to shovel snow or something else and have a heart attack or slip and fall because they weren’t well to begin with.

The aim of this article is to give you tips on how to continue your active lifestyle into the colder months, so you don’t experience a downswing in health.

Also, some of these may seem silly, and the truth is, they kind of are, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you maintain great health.

Outdoor Activities:

1 - Winter Hiking:

It can be quite beautiful getting outside in the winter, especially if there’s freshly fallen snow. Going outside and exploring local trails for winter hikes is a great way to get your exercise in and appreciate God’s creation. Best of all, because it’s cold out, trails will be far less congested, so you can enjoy it in silence. Always be sure to wear appropriate footwear with good traction to prevent slipping.

2 - Ice Skating:

Depending on where you live, this could be something you’re able to do outside. This is a classic winter activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Find a nearby ice rink and lace up your skates for some chilly fun.

If you’re worried about falling, you can always hold onto the walls too ;)

3 - Sledding:

Sledding is one of the best ways way to embrace the winter season with your family. Walking up and down the hill is guaranteed to get your heart pumping. And the thrill of gravity pulling you down a hill will also keep your heart rate elevated.

4 - Snowshoeing:

If you’re fortunate to live in an area with snow most of the winter, this is a great way to get your exercise in. Snowshoeing is an excellent winter workout that allows you to explore snowy landscapes while burning calories and strengthening your lower body.

5 - Snowball Fights:

I know it seems silly, but let’s be honest, if you’re blessed to have kids or grandkids around to do this with, there’s nothing more fun than bundling up and having a snowball fight. 

Simply running and dodging snowballs for 15-20 minutes will produce some serious cardiovascular benefits.

6- Building a Snow Fort:

When it snows heavy, wet snow that you can pack into a snowball, then you also have nature’s premier winter build materials. And building backyard snow forts or igloos can be a fun and physically demanding family project that combines creativity and exercise.

These are so fun to build, no matter your age, and will absolutely help your body feel great.

7 - Snow Angels and Snowmen:

Again, another silly one that will actually produce long-lasting benefits.  Rolling the balls to make a snowman and then moving them around the yard isn’t easy (and that’s the point).

These activities promote physical activity and creativity and are tons of fun to do with family and friends.

Indoor Workouts:

Now, let’s go inside. Because let’s be honest, you’re going to stay inside more than you’ll go outside.

1 - Home Workouts:

The first thing is to focus on home workouts if driving to the gym on icy roads is a concern.

You can create a dedicated workout space in your home, even if it's just a small corner with a yoga mat or some resistance bands.

In this day and age, even better is online fitness classes and apps that offer a wide range of workout routines, from yoga and Pilates to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training.  Many are there for you to use at minimal cost.

The point is it doesn’t require much to move and stay in shape.

2 - Dance Your Way to Fitness:

Thankfully, when it gets dark out, it doesn’t mean the day is over.

A fun nighttime activity that anyone of any age can participate in is dancing.

Not only is dancing a fun way to stay active and warm during the winter months, but it’s also great for boosting mental health and relational health, especially if you’re able to participate with a romantic partner.

3 - Water Fitness

If you have access to an indoor pool, swimming or water aerobics is an excellent low-impact exercise that can help you stay in shape during the winter.

4 - Mall Walking:

This is something that you can do with friends and knockout errands at the same time.

The good news is many malls across the nation open their doors up early to facilitate mall walking as well as providing courses and other kinds of support for people who want to do this.

Mall walking is a great way to exercise and support your community at the same time.

Be Sure To Always Be Moving

At the end of the day, the point I want to make is you can’t let cold weather deter you from staying active and healthy during the winter and the holidays.

With a little creativity and determination, you can enjoy a variety of indoor workouts, outdoor activities, and family-friendly fitness ideas that will keep you moving and energized throughout the season.

Staying active not only benefits your physical health but also boosts your mood and helps you fully embrace the magic of the winter season.

 

Talk soon,

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