Tips for Staying Active in the Winter
Spring is around the corner and more daylight is upon us with the clocks moving forward, so warmer, sunnier times are ahead, but where I live there is still plenty of snow and summer is a ways away. I’ve had a very fun, active winter this year and want to share some activities and ideas with all the people who get locked up in their house during the cold weather, maybe getting out of shape and experiencing slight depression along the way! Don’t think that just because it’s cold out or there is snow on the ground that you can’t keep your blood flowing!
You Can Still Play Sports – There are tons of sports and activities that you can still play during the colder months of the year when you’re less keen to travel outside for fitness. Especially if you live in a city, a college town or a more populated area, I guarantee there are sports leagues or a local YMCA that has times where people meet to run around. Basketball, volleyball and racquetball are a few of my personal favorites. You can even find indoor tennis facilities to work on your backhand. One sport you should really look into is platform tennis. If there are leagues or courts in your area you need to get out and play. I would describe it as a hybrid of racquetball, badminton and tennis. It’s meant to be played in the winter, it is a social game and it’s tons of fun. Check it out!
Go to the Gym, maybe take a Swim – Remember that gym membership you bought January 1st? Or maybe you’ve had one all along, but you get home from work, it’s dark that makes you sleepy and hurts your motivation. Particularly in the winter when most people tend to do less outside than when it’s warmer, you need to head on over to the gym and get your body moving. If you’re bored with your typical treadmill or weight lifting routine, mix it up by getting in the pool. Buy a pair of goggles at your local sporting goods store and hop on in. Most pools have various equipment, fins and kickboards that will give you plenty to do. So even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a strong swimmer, there’s still no excuse not to hop in the pool and get a great workout.
Good Times in the Outdoors – It’s crazy to me that people don’t know what to do in the winter. Maybe it’s because I live in the mountains and have access to a lot of activities when it’s cold outside, but many of these can be done anywhere with a bit of creativity. First of all, if you live somewhere relatively close to downhill skiing, what are you waiting for! You’re missing out on a great time. If your budget or the local topography doesn’t cater to alpine skiing, you’re not out of luck. Cross-country skis and snowshoes can be used almost anywhere when a decent amount of snow hits the ground. Snowshoeing can be done by anyone and with a little practice cross-country skiing is a fantastic workout.
It’s Dark Outside – Just because it’s dark out when you get home from work doesn’t mean you can’t get outside. Now, take caution, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be careful when exercising in the dark, but you shouldn’t rule it out. The headlamps you can buy these days for $30 are amazing. They are lightweight and incredibly bright, before you know it you will be lighting up the roads, sidewalks and paths that make up your favorite running local running loops. Grab a partner to help stay safe, motivated, and the path in front of you will be lit up twice as bright.
In the Comfort of your Own Home – Even if you don’t have an interest in sports and lack a gym membership, a pair of skis or a headlamp, you can still stay active during winter in the comfort of your own home. My home gym consists of a workout ball, a pull up bar and a few pairs of stretchy bands. If you use a little creativity and get some music rocking to boost your energy, you can get an amazing workout on your own floor. I don’t want to hear that your favorite show starts at 8:00 and you can’t miss it, push your couch out of the way and watch if while you work. A simple workout of pushups, pull-ups, some stretchy band exercises and crunches will have your muscles and heart pumping. You’ll still have time to take a shower and really feel good about sinking into the couch at 9:15 for the 9:00 show you have saved on your DVR.
As you can see, there’s really no reason for not staying active and having fun in the winter. Most people let cold weather and shorter days eventually turn into a routine of doing nothing! Don’t let this happen! Stay active all winter for a happier, healthier you.