How To Keep Fit This Winter
For some keeping fit during winter can be a challenge. The pillow calls a lot louder than the gym on chilly mornings. Winter is the time of the year when you really do need to take good care of yourself. The decrease in natural sunlight reduces serotonin levels and leaves many of us feeling flat, even depressed. Exercise, we know, releases feel-good hormones, endorphins, that counteract the serotonin. Taking advantage of exercise to beat the winter blues is a matter of planning for exercising when it’s cold and wet and the day’s shorter.
Benefits of Training in the Winter Season
You may feel sluggish in colder months and it may be difficult to drag yourself to the gym to enjoy some exercise. However, you should do the hard work and push yourself to stay active, as it will keep you fit. Here are some reasons why you should seriously think of training in those winter months:
- It increases blood circulation to all the veins and arteries and saves you from becoming affected by the cold.
- It helps you burn extra fat and energy, mainly because you have to work extra hard to raise the core temperature of your body.
- It improves your body’s immune system, which makes it a lot easier to fight against the cold.
- It really helps you offset any damage done by family meals and Christmas treats during that time of the year.
- It has a direct impact on your cardiovascular system and improves it by making your body getting used to breathing in cold air.
The list is quite long, so you should not look for any excuse to stop training in winter months, but you need to proceed in a systematic way. Here are some ways to help you achieve your goals in an effective and efficient manner.
1. Think About the Rewards
Winter is the time associated with eating rich in energy foods and more seeping hours indoors. People almost hibernate in their comfort zones wearing warm clothes under blankets and duvets. As many can vouch, the winter puddings and movie snacks quickly collect as winter fat. It’s a natural process many mammals undergo, but they are out in the cold weather not slumped in front of a TV being a couch potato. Spring can bring a world of regrets and a surge of gym memberships that won’t get used and diets that will never work. As you long for your long lost summer-ready bikini body, you’ll agree with anyone, that prevention is always better than a cure.
By then it’s too late. By the time any exercise or diet has taken affect the summer will be over and the whole vicious weight gaining cycle starts up again. But simple winter precautions around diet and exercise for a balanced healthy lifestyle can break the cycle. With perseverance and determination to you can have a summer hot beach body any time of the year.
2. Home Workout Regime
You don’t need to join a gym to get your ideal body shape and weight. You can work out at home with the same results if you follow the correct posture and sequence. There are various home exercises that give surprising results.
You can often start simply with a jumping rope or use medicine balls to include some physical activity in your routine. You can use the internet to find fun exercise and workout videos that you can try indoors. Yoga is a great choice, as it stretches your body but relaxes your mind at the same time. Aerobics may also help, but you can also go for body-weight exercises when you don’t have other equipment.
Exercises like squats, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, high knees, pushups, and a variety of planks at home can be beneficial when performed at home at your own convenience. These exercises will not only keep your body weight and figure maintained but will also improve your health by improving blood flow in your body.
3. Change Your Routine
Winters demand a change in routine. Nights are too dark and cold, the days too short and most of the time, in some way, it’s wet. No wonder we crave duvet days. But, it is the best time to switch your summer workout regime to a winter one, preferably indoors. Go for swimming, yoga, pilates or aerobics session at your nearby fitness center or join regular gym training for the season. Changing your exercise routine will positively influence your physical and mental health and make the long winter days a little more bearable.
You may find that adjusting the times you exercise is helpful. Working out late evenings after all your routine tasks might not be applicable in winters. We use up more energy keeping warm and staying mentally alert after the sun has gone down and our internal clock starts to tell us it’s time to head for the warmth and comfort of the bed. Exercising early morning is more feasible in winter. It warms you up inside and out with an added surge of endorphins leaving you energetic and wide awake with a perfect start to the day.
4. Purchase Fitness DVDs
If you can’t make it to the gym every day you can opt for fitness DVDs, and the good thing is that there are so many of them available online. These DVDs give you the freedom to work out at any available time. Whether you have a big workout space available or you have limited room to exercise, these recorded exercises are a good option. There are various types of fitness routine DVDs available from basic yoga and aerobics to intense Zumba and full body workouts. Usually, these exercises require minimum equipment and create little inconvenience.
5. Enroll in Winter Sports
Of course, you can give up the fight against the cold, wet and dark and just embrace it as a true child of winter. Snow sports like skiing, ice skating, sledding, and snowboarding are the stable of winter fun activities and are great to enjoy with friends and family. They appeal at one level or another to all age groups. Even if you never master the slopes or the ice, it’s quality family time with health benefits.
6. Engage in HIIT Workout
You may not want to spend a lot of time training during the winter season with the days being so much shorter. Consider switching to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Your goal is to burn fat fast although it is equally effective at building muscle without spending more than 20 minutes in the gym. Many studies have confirmed that short bursts of exercise burn fat effectively and improve overall fitness levels.
7. Buy New Trainers and Clothes
If you don’t already have warm workout clothes available, it may be a good time to do some shopping now. Feeling warm before your exercise will really give you the kind of motivation you need to be active on those cold nights. Simply buying the right types of gloves, running shoes, and hats will work wonders. Some studies have found that changing clothing may play a role in making you a better performer in the gym. Just give it a shot and see how it works!
8. Sleep Well
It is important to stay active during the day, but you need to give your body time to recover at night, so it is of immense importance to get a good night’s sleep. You should actually work on maintaining an efficient sleep routine and stick to it. Don’t spend time on your computer or other digital devices just before bed because such activities can disrupt sleep. You have to understand that your body clock relies heavily on routine, and you will end up de-synchronize it by changing the sleep pattern too often.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will “pay that sleep debt” on weekends by sleeping for an extra few hours, as it is not going to help. A good idea to ensure you’re getting the right amount of “peaceful” sleep is to use fitness trackers with sleep tracker option. It will help you judge if you have slept peacefully through the night or you spent time tossing and turning in your bed with no deep sleep. You can then make changes to your lifestyle to improve the quality of your sleep.
9. Pay Attention to Your Diet
No doubt, you need to be active and exercise more to stay healthy, but you have to provide your body with the right nutrients to keep the recovery process going. You can take a number of steps in this regard. For instance:
- Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast, as it will prevent energy crashes and keep your mood stable throughout the day.
- Include omega3 fatty acids in your diet by eating plant seeds, fish, and nuts. Joint pain is a common issue in colder months, but these foods will reduce inflammation and save you from depression.
- Include more fiber in your diet, especially the soluble fiber found in oats, apples, and nuts to support your immune system, which has to be at its best to fight the cold.
- Opt for green vegetables, such as squash, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, and carrots during the winter. You may want to cook these vegetables using spices, such as ginger, garlic, onions, and cilantro to naturally raise your internal body temperature.
Quick Tips for Staying Healthy in Winters
You may be thinking that you have to do a lot to keep fit during the winter season, and it is true, but here are some quick things to do and help get better results in a short time.
- Plan your exercising training and workout sessions with a companion. It is more likely to keep you committed and help you in staying motivated.
- Invest in some cozy winter accessories like headbands, jackets, and gloves which will keep you warm and protect you from the intensity of weather.
- Perform warm-up exercises at home before leaving for the gym so that your blood flow increases and your muscles get ready for more intense workouts.
- Include interesting exercises in your routine, and something like battle rope training will work just fine. Though considered a tool for your upper body, battle ropes can also work the muscles in your back, abs, and glutes, as you can do movements, like lunges, jumps, and squats. You can certainly be creative and get better results in a short training session.
- To suppress winter cravings it is ideal to cook healthy meals at home and stock up your fridge. This will save you from snacking on unhealthy options and keep you on track. Altering your salads with a bowl of thick homemade soup or porridge will make you feel fuller and comfortable in harsh weather. We create internal heat as we digest.
The fact of the matter is that what you eat helps keep you healthy, but physical activity is just as important, if not more. Staying active coupled with a sensible diet will go a long way in keeping you healthy and fit. You will be able to lower your risk of diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and even some types of cancer. Not only this, an active lifestyle will help improve your mood, boost self-esteem, and lower risk of depression. So, simply go back to the drawing board, know your limitations, and plan things better to stay healthy this winter.