As the winter months set in, many of us will lose our motivation for exercise. It is certainly understandable…the days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping, so it seems less convenient. But, staying motivated and continuing to exercise during the winter months has a number of benefits. Moderate exercise for 30 – 45 minutes has been reported to support a healthy immune system, which can be important in the winter months to help ward off colds. Exercise is also a great way to blow away those winter blues, and staying motivated throughout the winter can save a lot of extra weight loss effort in the spring.
Even though the temperature is likely dropping, nothing says you can’t still exercise outside. It is just necessary to take some different steps to safely exercise outside in the cold:
- Dress in layers – while it is important to stay warm, you don’t want to overheat. The best way to avoid this is to dress in layers, with the inner most being something that will draw heat and sweat away from your body. As you get warm or start to sweat, you can take off the top layers, and while you are cooling down, you can put them back on to prevent the outside cold from creeping back in.
- Protect your hands & feet – wear gloves and extra thick socks to keep your hands and feet warm. Our hands and feet are the most susceptible to frost bite when the weather gets real cold, so it’s important to protect them while exercising outside.
- Wear a hat – we lose a lot of body heat through our heads, so wear a hat to help maintain your warmth.
- Stay hydrated – it is just as important in the winter, when you might not feel as thirsty, as it is in the summer.
- Dress brightly – with the days getting shorter, you might find yourself exercising after dark. Make sure to wear bright or reflective clothes.
If exercising outside in the winter months just doesn’t sound appealing, exercising indoors is always an option. If the roads are passable, you can go to your local gym where there will be lots of exercise options. If the weather is just miserable, stay home and exercise. Some ideas for exercising at home might include:
- Exercise videos – these can be a fun way to burn off some extra calories, and they often don’t require much in the way of equipment.
- Stairs – if you live or work in a building with more than one level, you can walk up and down the stairs. At work, this can be done during breaks, and at home, this can even be done during television commercials.
- Strength training – get some weights or exercise bands and work out while watching your favorite prime time show.
Whether you choose to exercise indoors or outdoors this winter, staying motivated and consistent with your winter workouts will provide numerous health benefits. Just remember to stay warm and safe this winter while staying or getting in shape!