Exercising during the winter months is important for maintaining physical and mental health. Yet studies show for many adults the desire to exercise drops up to one-third each winter. A phenomenon known as "hibernation mode".
A poll of 2,000 adults revealed they exercise an average of four times a week during summer, but this decreases during the colder months, being 31 % less active than any other time of the year.
Whether it's motivation to get out of bed and get moving when it's still dark outside, safety concerns due to colder and inclement weather, or just a general lack of motivation to stick with their workout routine once the holidays hit, there were a variety of reasons people gave for avoiding exercise.
So how can you avoid the pull of hibernation, stick to healthy habits and reap all the awesome benefits?
Here are some quick tips to help you maximize your winter workouts with exercise ideas to help you stay active this the winter!
Warm Up Properly: Cold muscles are more prone to injury, so be sure to spend a few extra minutes warming up before starting your workout. Dynamic stretches, light jogging, or jumping jacks can help increase blood flow to your muscles.
Layer Up: Dress in layers to stay warm and comfortable. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics for your inner layer to keep sweat away from your skin, an insulating layer for warmth, and a waterproof or windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.
Stay Hydrated: Even in cold weather, staying hydrated is essential. You may not feel as thirsty as you do in the heat, but your body still requires water to function properly.
Choose the Right Time: If you prefer to get your exercise outdoors, consider changing up your usual exercise time to another warmer part of the day, like shifting from early morning to late morning or early afternoon, to avoid the coldest temperatures.
Indoor Exercise Options: you can always opt for indoor workouts. Try activities like indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates, bodyweight exercises, or using an on-demand workout platform. And when you move your workout indoors, there's no need to shift your workout schedule to another time of day, making it easier to stick with your regular routine.
Maximizing Outdoor Activities: If you prefer to get moving outdoors, there are plenty of options for winter exercise:
Walking or Hiking: Bundle up and explore local trails or parks. Just make sure to wear appropriate footwear for slippery conditions.
Sledding: Have some fun, build strength and boost cardio by sledding down hills.
Ice Skating: Find a local ice skating rink and enjoy a fun cardiovascular workout while working small stabilizer muscles and engaging your core.
Cross-Country Skiing: If you live in an area with snow, cross-country skiing is an excellent full-body workout.
Snowshoeing: Another great option if you have snow-covered trails nearby that requires very little know-how to start.
Strength Training: Incorporate strength training exercises using your body weight, resistance bands or dumbbells. These types of workouts can be done indoors and will help you maintain muscle mass and bone density.
Stay Safe: Be cautious of icy or slippery conditions. Wear appropriate footwear with good traction and choose well-lit paths or use a headlamp if you're exercising outdoors in the dark.
Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels. If you start to feel too cold or uncomfortable, it's okay to cut your workout short or head indoors, and adjust accordingly for the next time.
Cool Down: After your workout, spend at least 5-10 minutes cooling down and stretching the major muscle groups to help prevent muscle soreness and tension held in the body.
Key takeaway: remember, consistency is key when it comes to exercise and reaping its many benefits. Finding activities that you will enjoy and can easily stick with is important. And don't be afraid to mix up your winter workout routine by taking your exercise indoors or finding a new fun and creative way to maximize your outdoor fitness. As always, consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have any underlying health and/or medical conditions.
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