Coming up with an excuse not to workout is easy to do. When temperatures begin to dip and the sun goes down earlier and earlier, all you want to do is cuddle up in a blanket and stay indoors. But come rain, snow or shine, staying active is essential for good health.
Dr. Joseph Giaimo, DO, an osteopathic internal medicine physician notes, ‘The advantages of regular exercise are too great to be put on hold when workouts become inconvenient, especially during colder months. People who exercise reduce their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis.”
The doctor adds that regular exercise can also help with the winter blues, improving your mood, increasing your energy level and helping you to sleep better at night.
While you may not feel as motivated to get going, within minutes of exercising you’re bound to feel better. Try these ideas for staying active all winter long.
Try a new winter sport
There’s nothing like learning how to participate in a fun, new sport to get you motivated – it won’t feel like exercise even though you’re burning a ton of calories. Just a few ideas include:
Cross country skiing – It’s an excellent cardiovascular exercise as well as a great sport for increasing endurance and building up your major upper and lower muscle groups.
Snowboarding – Snowboarding is mentally and physically challenging as it forces you to stay balanced, increases flexibility and burns lots of calories.
Snowshoeing – Snowshoeing is a fabulous, inexpensive sport to get into – and, you can burn up to 45 percent more calories as compared to walking or running at the same speed.
Other options include ice skating, downhill skiing and even sledding. All offer a great way to stay active during the winter months while having a great time.
Build a DVD workout library
Exercise DVDs make it easy to squeeze in exercise any time, no matter what the weather’s like out there. Keep a variety on hand to prevent boredom, as you’ll quickly tire of doing the same workout day after day.
If you’re on a tight budget, your local library most likely has exercise DVDs available for loan. Another option is purchasing gently used DVDs at affordable prices, sometimes as low as 99 cents on sites like Amazon or CraigsList.
Take a class
There are lots of fitness classes offered through a variety of venues, such as your local gym or health club, YMCA, and other community organizations. Any type of activity from kickboxing to dancing, Zumba and yoga, is a great way to get out and get moving.
Walk the mall
Mall walking has become a popular way to get exercise during the winter. Some malls even open up prior to regular hours to let walkers in and even provide a map and/or pedometer displaying the distance walked. Just don’t head to the cinnamon roll shop when you’re finished!
You don’t have to go to a nightclub or take a class to dance. You can blast your favorite tunes, have a good time and get an excellent cardio workout. No need for fancy dance steps – just get moving. If you’ve got little ones at home, ask them to join you so that you’ll all get a good workout, and likely a few laughs too.
No matter what you do, don’t give in to hibernating all winter, staying active will not only keep your waistline slimmer, it’s guaranteed to keep you healthier – and most likely feeling happier too.
-The Alternative Daily