If you find yourself skipping workouts when it’s cold outside, you’re not the only one. Polls show that Americans typically exercise far less regularly during the fall and winter months—probably because a cozy fire is way more inviting than an icy jogging trail. But with a little warm clothing and a lot of creativity, you can still stay active once the temperature drops. Here are just a few suggestions:
GO SHOPPING FOR THE RIGHT GEAR.
Not crazy about indoor exercise? It’s hard to coax yourself outside when the temperature dips, but owning the right workout gear makes it a lot easier.
The Mayo Clinic recommends wearing light layers that you can peel off as your body temperature rises. Your first shirt should be made of a thin, synthetic material like polypropylene, which wicks moisture away from your body. To keep cozy, top it with a fleece or wool pullover. Add a waterproof, breathable windbreaker or outerwear, and you’re ready to pound the icy pavement. (Keep in mind that you might need to customize this ensemble depending on your exercise intensity and physical makeup.)
WATCH EXERCISE VIDEOS ONLINE.
If you can’t even find the motivation to make it to the gym, peruse streaming video platforms (or even social media accounts) for exercise videos and tutorials. (There are a ton of free and low cost options out there.) A virtual instructor will guide you through a cardiovascular or weight-bearing workout that requires minimal equipment—just perseverance.
ADOPT A WINTER SPORT…
If you participate in a seasonal sport that ended months ago, consider adapting a new one come winter. Physical activities like ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and even curling give major muscle groups a workout, plus they burn plenty of calories.
… OR REVISIT A SUMMER FAVORITE.
Your summer pool might be closed for business, but your local recreation center likely has a heated indoor one, complete with designated lap lanes and aqua fitness classes. All you technically need is a bathing suit, but if you’re really planning to spend some quality time in the water, consider purchasing a snug racing suit, a swim cap, and a pair of goggles. For novice swimmers, kickboards and swim fins give leg muscles a workout while still keeping you afloat.
GO TO THE MALL.
There’s no need to spend a lot of money at the mall when you can get a healthier body there for free. According to a recent report compiled by the Center for Disease Control, shopping malls—not the treadmills at your local gym— rank just below neighborhoods as the nation’s second most popular walking venue. When you think about it, it makes sense: Malls are heated (or air-conditioned), and filled with plenty of public restrooms, water fountains, and benches for post-workout rest.
In turn, some shopping centers have responded to this trend by offering patrons special walking hours and wellness programs.
PURCHASE A HOME GYM.
You have way fewer excuses to skip your workout if you transform your recreation room into a home gym. Don’t have the space? Keep in mind that there’s no need to clutter your living room with bulky athletic equipment, as many athletic companies now sell foldable, collapsible, and lightweight cardio, weight, and resistance machines. For those with truly cramped quarters—or a tight budget—stick with a simple set of free weights, a yoga mat, and resistance bands.
FIND A COLD-WEATHER WORKOUT BUDDY.
Resist the urge to become a winter couch potato, and enlist a workout buddy to help you stay in shape until spring. Sure, they’ll hold you accountable, but even more compelling? Studies show that we push ourselves, harder, have more fun, and feel calmer when we exercise with friends.
EXERCISE WHILE WATCHING T.V.
Exercising and binge-watching don’t have to be mutually exclusive: Consider making calisthenics a part of the programming. Hold a 30-second plank during each commercial break, or do squats, side leg lifts, calf raises, and sit-ups until the show returns.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR BUILDING’S STAIRCASE.
If you live or work in a multi-story complex, you might be overlooking an underutilized (and more importantly, free) piece of workout equipment: the stairwell. According to a study released by Harvard Health Publications, stair climbing burns more calories than walking on a treadmill. An added bonus? You don’t even need to leave the building.
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