Ah, winter. That magical time when the snow is falling, the clothing is layered and warm, and there is no need to for anyone to catch a glimpse of your figure till spring. It’s not surprising that the average American gains five pounds each winter!
However, cold weather and short days are no excuses to abandon your fitness goals. After all, there’s much more to fitness than staying trim. You’ll be one step ahead of the spring bikini body rush if you stay in shape during winter using these simple chilly weather exercise tips.
Play in the Snow
We all know that shoveling snow burns calories, works your arms, abs and core, and can even cause you to break quite the sweat. However, there are also other, more entertaining ways to stay fit when Mother Nature decides to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Invite the whole family out and have a family fun snowball fight. You’ll be working your arms, your core balance and your legs as you chase each other through the snow. You’ll basically be getting a full body workout, but you won’t notice because you’ll be too busy having fun. Don’t forget: A deep down belly laugh is a great workout in itself, too.
Another great way to work your body and have a blast is to go sledding with the kiddos or adult friends. Pulling a sled up and down steep slopes is a terrific way to work your quads, your hamstrings and your core. Plus, you get the added fun of zipping down a steep slope after you do all the hard work. What gym workout can promise you that?
Feeling a little bit lower key in your snowy workout fun? Build a snowman or make snow angels. Building a snowman works your arms, back and core. Creating snow angels works your body as if you had your own personal Pilates reformer, and really targets those trouble areas of the inner and outer thighs. Plus, you’ll have created wonderful works of winter art to gaze upon.
Go for a Walk
Just because the weather is nippy doesn’t mean you can’t perform the easiest and most effective form of exercise: walking. Walking in winter conditions requires extra balance and coordination, which really puts your core muscles to the test. Bundle up and head outside. If you’d like, you can include the entire family as well! Plan a nighttime walk, and ooh and aah over the holiday lights together — or make it a romantic moonlight stroll with that special someone.
If, despite the lovely winter landscape, you’re the sort who still prefers to gaze at it from indoors, that doesn’t mean you need to stop your daily stroll. Head to the nearest mall to walk and window shop at the same time. Who knows? You may also just find the perfect holiday gift.
If you’re stuck in the office during a dreary winter day, take a walk around the grounds during your breaks. If you have more leeway in your schedule, you can use an app such as StandApp to remind you to get up and walk at regular intervals. Remember: Always opt for the stairs over the elevator or escalator, and you’ll get a bonus hamstring workout as well.
Get Your Groove on Indoors
You can do much more than just walk indoors if you tend to shun snow and ice. Sure, you can buy a gym membership, but you don’t need one. Plug your iPhone or other device into your Bluetooth speaker, crank up your favorite jams, and just dance. If you’re home alone, dance like no one is watching. If the family is with you, invite them to join in the dance party fun.
Are you the sort who needs a bit more of a disciplined system to get you moving, but you’re low on cash? There are tons of inexpensive apps out there that offer disciplined exercise programs for a minimal amount of cash. DailyBurn is a great app for your Roku box, computer, tablet or phone that costs less than $20 per month. From kickboxing to weightlifting to dance, you’ll be burning massive calories without ever leaving the house.
If you have a bigger indoor fitness budget, try taking your daily run or swim indoors. There are a number of reasonably priced swim-fitness solutions that you can have installed that allow you to swim and even run in the privacy of your home. As a bonus, underwater running reduces the force on your muscles, ligaments and bones, making for a safe, effective and fun workout.
Give Your House That Holiday — or Post-Holiday — Sparkle
We normally think of cleaning as a chore, not a way to get fit. However, vacuuming, dusting, mopping and cleaning out closets, does burn calories and helps get you in shape. Vigorous scrubbing of cooking pots before and after your holiday feasts really works your shoulders. Picking up toys and laundry takes core work. Vacuuming, mopping and sweeping up cobwebs all provide a full-body workout while making your house welcoming and cozy for guests or just for you and your loved ones.
Hit the Slopes
If you’re not cold-phobic, hitting the ski slopes can be a fabulous way to keep in tip-top winter shape. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are both an absolute blast and burn major calories, as well as toning your legs, arms and core.
If your coordination is just a touch too lacking for downhill skiing, don’t despair! You can try cross-country skiing, which burns major amount of calories and is a superb cardiovascular workout. You can also go snowshoeing, which works your legs way better than even an hour on the squat rack.
Finally, if you’re not an adrenaline junkie and don’t want to travel over the river and through the woods on your own two feet, give ice skating a try. It’s a great workout that really tightens your core, and can be anywhere from mild to intense, depending on how hard you push yourself.
No matter what your level of fitness, you can still amp up your heart rate and work up a sweat even when the temperature is freezing. Don’t let the winter blues keep you from being your fabulous, fit self. Get out there and have some fun while getting fit!