Dark mornings, dark evenings, and cold days don’t exactly lend themselves to the motivation for working out. But science says we must! In the colder weather, our body goes into survival mode, and the hormone that encourages us to store fat is produced twice as quickly. It’s not a done deal, though, and we shouldn’t take it lying down. Tests have shown that if we exercise even lightly, that hormone is produced slower, and the hormone that encourages muscle growth takes its place. If that isn’t motivation enough, follow these helpful hints to staying fit this winter.
Run outside, even in the cold
It seems counter-intuitive, and quite uncomfortable, but if you wrap up warm and run in the cold weather, you burn calories faster than you would in the heat. This is because your body not only uses energy to feed your muscles, but it also has to burn fat to keep you warm. If it’s icy or snowy, it might be worth investing in some trail running shoes for better traction, but don’t let the cold put you off.
Create yourself a home gym
When the weather is too awful, provide an environment conducive to working out at home. It doesn’t take a lot, just a rowing machine that can be stored easily is all you need for a great cardio workout. Make sure you check online for the best rowing machine at the moment before you make your purchase. Squats, planking, push ups, and burpees are ideal for ensuring you work out all your muscles, without even having to go to the gym.
It’s easier to remember to drink water in the hotter weather but just as important in winter. Don’t allow yourself to get dehydrated accidentally, try to make sure you’re drinking around eight cups of fluid a day – herbal tea and fruit juice totally count too.
Don’t give in to carb cravings
When it’s cold, all we want is white carbs to keep us warm and comfortable, but they could have a really detrimental effect on your fitness. Try not to change your diet too much as you go into winter, and use hearty winter vegetable soups and stews as an alternative to the comfort food you crave. You’ll feel much better for it, I promise.
Find a heated pool
Enjoy the warm water while also giving yourself a great cardio workout. It’s basically the best of both worlds.
Go ice skating
There are plenty of winter activities which are also a great workout. Ice skating is much harder work than it looks, so it’s guaranteed to burn a few calories. Even shoveling snow from your front walk, building a fire, sledding, and snowball fights all technically count as exercise. And as previously mentioned, any time you’re outside, your body is burning calories just to keep you warm.
So don’t allow your body to convince you that winter is a time for hibernation – get out there and keep moving, and you’ll feel a lot less guilty when the summer is looming.