Cold, snowy days and warm, inviting homes can make it difficult to get outside and exercise during the winter months. However, with a few tweaks to your usual routine, you can stay in shape despite the cold temperatures.
Added bonus? Regular moderate exercise will boost immunity by improving lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation. This gives you a fighting chance to stave off the germs running rampant through your office or your children’s schools.
Climb the stairs
This may come as a surprise, but climbing stairs provides a full body workout. Preventive Medicine found that climbing just six flights of stairs per day could reduce heart rate and increase levels of healthy HDL cholesterol among women who were previously sedentary.
Snowed in? Get a full workout and increase your calorie burn by challenging yourself to climb up and down the stairs in your home or at work 10 times in a row. Do three sets of this workout in the same day to really challenge yourself!
Get a dog
Dogs are our best friends for so many reasons, including built-in exercise. It may not be fun to trample through the snow, but having a dog will likely require you to head outside for a daily walk, even if the weather is unpleasant.
Check the local animal shelter or rescue group of your choice for a dog waiting for its forever home.
Invest in a pair of dumb bells
You can complete a full workout with a set of dumb bells. Do bicep curls, triceps extensions, squats, and military presses. Complete three sets with 10-12 repetitions of each exercise per set. Select a weight that is heavy enough that the last few repetitions are difficult to perform. Aiming for more gain? Increase the weight and decrease the reps.
Join a gym or fitness center
Join a gym or fitness center close to home, and you can run on the track or use the pool, even when the ground is covered in snow. Many gyms offer discounted rates during the slower season (winter).
Jumping rope burns serious calories. Jumping rope with a weighted rope increases your calorie burn even further, and it also strengthens and tones your arms. Jump rope before work while watching the morning news or in the evening to unwind after your day in the office. You can find a weighted jump rope at big box stores like Walmart or Target for under $20.
Hit the slopes
Downhill skiing can burn a lot of calories. In fact, a 130 pound woman will burn about 500 calories during an hour of downhill skiing. In the Shenandoah Valley we are close to several wonderful ski resorts – take advantage! When you are bundled up and having a blast, you won’t have time notice the temperature.
You can beat the cold temperatures with spandex/compression pants and warm, perspiration-wicking running jackets. It may still be freezing outside, but you will be more comfortable with the proper attire. Treat yourself to a few winter running outfits, and then head outdoors for some exercise.
It will be easier (and safer) to warm up inside first. Take five to ten minutes and do some low level aerobic exercising to get the blood pumping and body temperature up. This way, when you step out the door, you will already be warm.
Attend a group exercise class
Many gyms and fitness centers will allow non-members to attend group exercise classes on a drop-in basis for a small fee. If you can spare $20 or so every month, you can attend one group exercise class per week without locking in a full gym membership. You can attend indoor classes such as yoga or Body Pump and stay warm even when it is snowing outside.
With a little planning and some dedication, you can meet your fitness goals, as well as fight infection and depression, despite the freezing temperatures.
What are some of your favorite ways to stay active during the winter?