Keeping Active In Colder Weather
I was just talking to a friend and we were wondering if there was a natural instinct for us to "hibernate;" reducing our movement, with much less of an urge to participate in our usual athletic and exercise activities, in winter. She may just be on to something!
The days are shorter, with less sunlight to tell our internal systems to get up and get moving. And when the temperature is cold, we quite literally begin to turn inward, to conserve heat.
But if you like to keep active because you know all the amazing benefits of moving your body, here are a few tips to help you stay active in cold winter months. As part of our 5-Day Energy Reboot Challenge - starting January 8! - and the 6-Week Energy Reboot Program, we talk about why it’s essential that we move our bodies, even just a little bit, every day. (And guess what - it has nothing to do with your weight!)
For those who want to stay in a temperature controlled environment, try these:
Strength training at home.
You can get a set of resistance bands, this set even has handles and a door-jamb mount! or a simple set of dumbbells to use in the comfort and privacy of your own home, any time you want! For a space saving set up, try these adjustable weight dumbbells. A nice way to set it up even more is to add a suspension trainer like the TRX to your collection. TRX even provides online routines for every level of user, including beginners!
We have a wealth of resources available to us by simply typing in a few search terms online. Try “simple dumbbell routine” or “15 minute strength resistance bands” and you can find so many options, including YouTube videos with great guidance on form.
Join a local smaller facility.
Sometimes a big gym can feel intimidating, but you want the ability to access equipment and guidance from expert trainers. This is where the local gym really shines. You get a level of service with privately owned facilities that you may not get from a big-box gym, but that sometimes comes at a slightly higher investment. It’s all about balancing what’s more important to you! If you’re local to Chester County, PA, I highly recommend Tribe Fitness in Wayne PA, or Downingtown Fit Body Boot Camp in Downingtown, PA. Tell them I sent you!
Join a large gym
Larger gyms, often part of a chain, can offer big incentives to join, some with free months, free add-on classes, or additional amenities at the facility like locker rooms, sauna, or even a pool. As you can guess, the investment increases with the amount of amenities offered. If you are simply looking for a way to get your walks in while you listen to your favorite music or podcast, this could be the way to go. Many offer strength training equipment and the ability to add on personal training sessions too! If you have a regular time that you like to go, you will start to notice the same people too, and could possibly even meet some new friends! I have several clients who like to do this during the winter months to maintain their walking practice without breaking the bank.
If you want to stay outside:
Aside from reading these tips in a previous post about staying warm outdoors, here are some options for keeping moving while you’re outside!
Walking is one of the easiest ways to maintain a brain-building, energy-boosting movement habit. Be sure to wear a hat and gloves, since your head and hands are two places where you lose heat quickly. If you’ll be doing outdoor walks a lot, it can be beneficial to invest in some boots that are good for walking, instead of your usual walking sneakers. Look for something with solid tread and a warm liner. Wool socks are my best friend in winter, they keep toes toasty AND dry, by wicking away sweat to keep them from feeling chilly, and naturally insulating while remaining lightweight.
Find a Group Activity
It’s easier to stay motivated when you’ve got someone else to keep you accountable! Try organizing a group hike in a nearby nature preserve. Find a local spot that you’ve never explored in winter. Many public and private botanical gardens have interesting outdoor exhibits, even in winter, and some offer discounted admission in the off season. You can try calling to see if they have group activities or guided tours in winter.
In my short investigation, I discovered most zoos are open year round. You won’t notice the cold as much if you’re enjoying the sights, and many have indoor areas where you can get a break from the cold to see more animals, or grab a warm bite to eat.
Keep An Eye on the Weather
Take advantage of the sunny days of the season. They will feel warmer, even if the temps aren’t that much higher. (P.S. Don’t forget your sunscreen on those sunny days, cold weather doesn’t mean you’re immune to sunburn!) We often have a few mild days, or even weeks in mid-winter here in the Northeastern US, and people come out in droves to get a dose of the warmer air! Even if it’s only a few degrees warmer, it can make a huge difference!
If you try any of these, or have more suggestions, drop a comment or send us a note!
*As with any exercise routine, please consult with your physician before beginning any new workout to ensure you are healthy enough for exercise.
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