Many people who faithfully work out during the warmer months struggle when winter arrives. Days become shorter, temperatures drop and curling up with a book sounds a lot more appealing than running.
But, while being forced indoors may prevent you from running an obstacle course, it can actually present an opportunity to supplement your workout with strength training and/or cross-training, both important aspects to maintain muscle and optimum health. For physiological improvements and continued strength building, it’s important to keep your body guessing with different types of exercise.
Here are a few tips on how to continue exercising during the dreary winter months.
- Join a gym. Many fitness centers are offering introductory rates right now. A gym offers a variety of exercise options to help you mix it up and avoid boredom or burnout. Try Zumba, spinning, boot camps, or TRX training, which, which allows you to use your own body weight and gravity to work every muscle in your body by utilizing a suspension tool. A gym also gives you access to cardio and strength training equipment.
- Take advantage of digital/virtual workout options at home. Fitness DVDs, YouTube videos and phone apps provide options ranging from cardio to yoga and Pilates to strength training. I just signed up for program called Daily Burn that I’m super excited to try. It has a ton of different workouts that you can stream anywhere that include programs with and without exercise equipment. Daily burn also has tons of recipes and nutrition info as well.
- Invest in simple home equipment. Hand or ankle weights, resistance bands (less than $20) or my favorite, the TRX (about a $200 investment), can multiply your exercise efforts ten-fold. And, they typically come with instructions and suggestions.
- Commit to a class or activity. Seek out a class at a community center, your employer or other location. Join a volleyball team or make a standing date with a friend to play racquetball or other activity. Basketball was invented to keep football players in shape during the winter and there are always three-on-three leagues looking for players. Just pick something you like to do, find someone to hold you accountable and show up.
- Be deliberate about moving. You can squeak in a cardiovascular workout even at seemingly inopportune places and times. You can walk in place, around the house or up and down steps. Step up your workout with jumping jacks and jump rope. Take the stairs no matter where you are, use your breaks at work to go for walks, walk around the grocery store or mall before you do your shopping. The key: Be intentional and consistent.
Raising your heart rate and strength training will help you maintain your metabolism, burn excess body fat, and make your body more efficient at rest. By making a commitment to stay active during the winter months, you’ll be in stronger and in better shape when bikini season rolls around.