Studies show that Americans tend to exercise less in the winter as the weather turns colder compared to warmer months, according to research from Gallup and Healthways. There’s also a downward trend where not everyone who stops exercising during the winter starts again, meaning fewer Americans are exercising than ever before. This makes it particularly important to stay in a routine and continue to exercise all year round. Fortunately, winter brings jobs like shoveling snow that can help you to stay active and there are a few things you can do to adapt your current routine to work in winter.
Stay Active Around the House
If you don’t have access to a gym and struggle to fit in workouts at home, incorporating exercises into your day-to-day routine can be one of the easiest ways to stay active during the colder months and help you to avoid gaining the average winter weight of 5-10 lbs. If you live somewhere where it snows, shoveling the snow off your drive and pathways can be an intense cardio workout that also helps to build muscle in the arms, shoulders, and core. Sweeping paths and raking leaves are also good for this.
Tips for Adapting to the Cold Weather
If you normally exercise outside, such as going for runs or ok bike rides, the cold weather can quickly deter you from wanting to do so. Maybe you even tried to stick with it, but the cold hit you and you headed back home after a few minutes. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a catch 22 situation because you need to keep exercising in the cold in order to acclimate to it. A couple of tricks can help though. Before leaving your home, run on the spot, do some jumping jacks or anything else that will help to warm you up and get your blood flowing. This means you’ll already be warm when you go outside, so the temperature change won’t hit you so hard. Additionally, wear several layers that you can take off as you adapt throughout your workout.
Use Your Body Weight for Strength Training
Using your own body weight for strength training can be an effective way of toning and strengthening muscles for most people and requires little to no equipment, making it easy to do at home. Do push-ups for your arms, chest, and core, tricep dips using your bed or a chair for your arms, sit-ups or crunches for your core, and squats and lunges for your legs. Aim to do 3 sets of each exercise for 8-10 reps and you’ll have a full-body workout that helps to warm you up and increase your heart rate.
It can be difficult to stick with exercise during the cold winter months as it’s tempting to curl up under a blanket in front of the TV. However, sticking to your usual regime can be done with a few tweaks, you can stay active shoveling snow or raking leaves, and get in a full-body strength training workout at home to maintain your fitness levels and avoid weight gain.