The alarm buzzes. The wind is whipping at the windows outside of your bedroom. The air is cold and the sun is still asleep. The perfect recipe to turn the alarm off, snuggle back under the covers and push off your New Year’s Resolution until tomorrow.
As the days get shorter and the air is colder, the temptation to hide out in our homes becomes quite apparent. We begin to turn to comfort foods and watching movies on the couch all day. In turn, lack of activity and increased calorie consumption can contribute to weight gain and depressive moods.
For some, being active is hard enough in the summer months, let alone adding on the component of frigid air working against your lungs. When you begin to drown under all the excuses not to stay active this winter, think about the amount of time that will pass until summer comes back around again. Time goes on, what are you going to choose to do with it?
The first step is making a commitment to yourself. Then, try verbalizing it to others for accountability. Step two is to become creative with ways of being active. The colder temperatures add a hidden benefit to exercising, your body has to work a little harder to regulate your internal temperature, which can increase the amount of calories expended.
You don’t have to run a half marathon in the snow to feel satisfied. Try bundling yourself up and go shovel your sidewalk, then maybe the neighbor’s, and a few more until you’ve worked up a solid sweat. Skiing and snowboarding are other great activities that can be a lot of fun, without even realizing the calories your burning! Another upside to working out in the winter is no heat or humidity for any of those that are a little more sensitive to climate.
Another important reason to stay active during the winter is to absorb some of that wonderful vitamin D. Sunshine is a little harder to come by in the colder months, but is still readily available! So don’t be afraid to spend some time outdoors soaking up the sun.
Benefits aside, it is wise to be aware of the weather. Dress warm and dry—always layer with moisture wicking fabrics first, then fleece, and a thin waterproof jacket. Avoid cotton at all costs because it traps moisture and can leave you colder. When it’s raining or snowing, or when it is zero degrees Fahrenheit outside, it is a good idea to take your workout indoors for the day.
Be mindful that exercise does not have to look like a gym workout. There are also plenty of options to keep active indoors, like adding ankle or wrist weights while you work around the house or travel up and down the stairs. Try doing wall sits or planks anytime you heat something in the microwave, until the timer beeps. If you go shopping at the mall, try taking a few extra laps before you leave. Get creative, get active!