How to Stay Fit During Winter

How to Stay Fit During Winter

If you have trouble exercising during the winter, you're not alone. The cold and snow can make any outdoor exercise difficult and miserable to perform. In addition, the darker days and earlier nights of winter trigger your brain to produce more melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy. Though this may dim your motivation to exercise, there are ways to stay fit during the winter.

Benefits of exercising in the winter

Research has shown that exercise at any time of the year has a number of health benefits, including:

  • Losing weight
  • Improving metabolism
  • Strengthening the cardiovascular system
  • Stabilizing blood sugar levels, which helps prevent type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

Exercise also has winter-weather benefits, including:

  • Energy: Exercise gives you a quick jolt of energy, which will counteract the effects of winter fatigue.
  • Improved sleep: Exercise can put you into a sound sleep quickly. This is an important benefit for people who have trouble sleeping because of the time change.
  • Learning a new activity: There are many fun activities that you might not have tried until winter forced you to consider them.

5 winter fitness activities

  1. Join a gym: You don't have to do your fitness routine outside. If the weather is too cold or snowy, visit your nearest gym. Most gyms offer a variety of fitness classes and exercise machines to suit your needs, and it might give you a winter discount on the membership fee.
  2. Take up ice skating: Many neighborhoods have open-air ice skating rinks that provide a good workout for beginning and experienced skaters. If the weather is too brutal, you can usually find an indoor rink, but it probably won't be as fun as looking at the snow-covered hills as you glide by.
  3. Go for a walk: This is an activity that almost anyone can do. If the weather is too cold, take a trip to the mall and walk from one end to the other. This not only gives you a good workout, but it also gives you a chance to window shop as you pass by the many stores. Just don't give in to the temptation to stop and look.
  4. Yoga: Given the popularity of yoga, you shouldn't have to go far to find a yoga studio where you can learn or practice yoga without the cold wind hitting you. Don't want to brave the cold to get to a studio? You can find a variety of yoga workout videos online that you can do at home.
  5. Take the stairs: At every opportunity, take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. Climbing stairs strengthens your leg muscles and your cardiovascular system, giving you a great workout.

Staying fit during the winter can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be impossible. Select one or two activities from this list and get started, or use this list to come up with additional ideas.

Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/winter-tiredness.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/family-health-12/checklist-winter-fitness?page=1