Winter: The Fitness Season
For many of us winter is the time to pull the covers up higher and eat comfort food. On average, people eat more, sleep more, and gain more weight in colder months.
But the deeper truth is that it’s always challenging to exercise regularly, and like anything, winter can be another excuse, or an opportunity. Here are some tips to change the season of hibernation into a time of activation.
Get the Right Gear and Use It. Don’t underestimate the importance of simply being well-protected from the elements. Having a good pair of gloves can make the difference between tolerating five minutes outside and enjoying 20. Hands, feet, and head are critical areas even for basic activities like a short walk. If you’re doing more, plan accordingly. Rigorous exertion means layering for easy adjustment as body temp rises.
Get a Short-term Gym Membership.Many of us know we’re not gym people, but we may be winter gym people, and it’s time we acknowledge it. In summer, we’re out all day frolicking and running around, but come winter we’re at a loss. Short-term athletic club memberships are frequently more expensive, but totally worth it if you avoid hitting spring without your “winter belly.” Even a one-month membership in the coldest weeks can do a lot to get you through. And buying day passes that offer benefits like a hot tub or sauna – which are nice antidotes to freezing temps outside – can be a good incentive to make it worth your while with an extra long session.
Group Exercise.Signing up for a class guarantees someone else will be telling you what to do (if you can just get there and follow along). The group support can keep you going when otherwise you would have been long gone.
Travel. Get a break from the cold weather and go somewhere warmer. Even a quick long weekend can be rejuvenating.
Evaluate Social Events by the Food Factor. Holiday parties, dinners, drinks – it’s nice to be social, but when every event comes with a high caloric price, sometimes you have to draw the line. Don’t be afraid to bypass completely the ones you know will have the most food and alcohol. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of temptation along with the pros and cons of spending time with family and friends.
Do the Admin Work of Wellness. Read a book on wellness, make the doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off, research getting an HSA, a better mattress for your bad back, a standing desk. Fitness encompasses a lot of things, and not all of them involve breaking a sweat.