It’s dark and cold outside, your crockpot is cooking a tasty stew, and your couch is looking like an amazingly cozy place to spend the evening. Sound familiar? When the weather turns cold and the days are shorter it is hard to find the motivation to do anything other than snuggle up inside and binge watch The Crown. Don’t let a winter slump interfere with your fitness goals. There is a time to snuggle up with a mug of cocoa and enjoy some Hygge, and there is a time to break a sweat and give your body a workout.
Here are five ideas to help you keep you moving through the dark days of winter.
1. Opt Outside!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by a lack of daylight and is especially prevalent in the northern hemisphere. One of the best ways to avoid SAD is to soak up as much daylight as you can. Taking your workout outside during the day helps.
So ideally your winter workout plan should include outdoor activities that help you take advantage of the sunlight in the morning or early afternoon. Taking a long walk or squeezing in a run, before work or on your lunch hour, if you can, will not only give your body some much needed exercise but also brighten up the day and help elevate your vitamin D levels. Plus the endorphins and natural light will give you a natural boost better than any cup of coffee (sorry Starbucks!).
2. Try something new!
That barre class you have been wanting to try out? Do it! Most boutique fitness studios offer new students a free visit. Or how about trying a salsa class – something fun and exciting that will not only give you a compelling reason to get moving but also give you opportunities for social interaction during the cold, dark times? Anyhow, be it an exotic dance form like belly dancing, kickboxing, or CrossFit training, if you live in an urban area you could probably spend the whole winter trying out new classes. Mixing things up will help you stay motivated and you might find your new favorite activity that may even earn a permanent spot in your winter workout plan!
3. Workout with a buddy!
You remember that college friend you keep promising to meet up with, over a glass of wine? Make it a workout date instead. If you like a challenging workout with an awesome soundtrack, try a Spin class. It may become a part … or even the most beloved part of your winter fitness routine. And you and your friend might find that this becomes a regular date that you actually keep – win-win for all.
4. Try a winter sport.
Skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing are all awesome ways to get some physical movement alongside a generous dose of adrenaline in the colder months when things get bleak and dull. No wonder winter sports lovers make these activities a part of their winter workout plan. No snow in your area? Take it indoors at the local ice skating rink or trampoline park. We guarantee that any of these workouts will wake up muscles that you haven’t felt in a long time.
5. Online workouts.
There is nothing wrong with a great at-home workout. We are so lucky to have a world of workouts at our fingertips – one of the many blessings of the digital age. In the 90’s fitness fanatics were stuck with the handful of DVDs they had on hand (Hello! “Buns of Steel”). These days you can find everything from pole dancing to bootcamp workouts right on your phone or tablet. There are subscription apps such as Codyapp or if you are on a budget, just check out all the free workout videos on YouTube.
With no shortage of fun winter exercise ideas, the gym being too boring excuse fortunately doesn’t hold up anymore. So it’s time to launch yourself in action mode and get some exercise in winter without going to the gym. And if you like variety to keep you interested, different online workouts that you can do from the comfort of your home may be just what you need to set the ball … or body rolling.
Just because the weather is gloomy doesn’t mean that you need to lose sight of your goals this winter. In fact, treat it as the perfect time to start working towards a fit and sculpted body that you get to flaunt over the summer. Keep things fresh, try new things, and keep moving! We would love to hear your ideas or tips for winter workout plans. What is your favorite way to keep fit in the colder months?