Ways to Stay Active During the Cold Winter Months
Updated: Sep 1, 2019
During the coldest months of the year it is more than the weather that pushes the desire to hibernation into overdrive. Short days, dark and gloomy skies, and an overall feeling of exhaustion makes it difficult to muster up the strength to get out and about this time of year. While the pull to hibernate for the winter is strong, it is important to recognize the benefits of staying active during the season. If you don’t want to put on extra weight, if you want to keep your joints healthy, or if you simply don’t want to lose progress toward a fitness goal, here are a few ways to avoiding hibernation this winter.
Check Out a New Gym
Heading indoors is a great idea if you want to beat winter hibernation thoughts, and joining a gym or health club may be the best way to do so. Gyms and health clubs offer more than a cozy place to workout or stay active inside; they also provide a variety of amenities that cannot be found at home. Some health clubs offer spa services, personal training packages, and all the equipment your heart desires to stay on track with your fitness goals. Other gyms may provide access to group fitness classes that help keep your motivation up and accountability high. Whatever option you select, think about the building’s proximity to home, its hours, and its price tag to ensure it fits with your needs all year-round.
Try Outdoor Activities
The winter months are cold, making it more challenging to get outside an enjoy regular physical activity. However, trying new outdoor exercises or experiences may be just what you need to avoid hibernation. Think about your options for sledding, skiing or snowboarding, or ice skating, and pick a new activity each week to try. This helps keep things fresh until the warmth returns. If you do venture outdoors to stay active, there are a few points to remember. Hydration still matters in the winter, so drink plenty of water. Also, avoid wearing too many cotton layers, since the fabric is easily weighed down when wet. Pick up some moisture wicking workout wear, or a fleece jacket or coat that keeps the moisture to a minimum.
Get Active Inside
If heading outdoors isn’t your idea of a good use of time in the winter, consider your options for getting some activity checked off the list, inside. This can be as simple as downloading a few workout videos to watch in the comfort of your living room, or adding to your step count each hour instead of sitting idle on the couch. You can also take on a new project that involves some physical activity, like organizing the basement, doing a deep winter clean of bedrooms and bathrooms, or going through closets to find donation items. Each of these activities counts toward physical movement, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.
Try Something New
If you’re struggling to find a physical activity that keeps you motivated during the winter, think outside the box. Aim to try a new routine that provides some variety, such as signing up for a new exercise class, trying yoga for the first time, or attempting a new type of activity that you’ve never done. It may seem like a simple plan, but getting creative with your exercise can make all the difference in keeping up with physical activity during the winter.
Get Family or Friends Involved
Finally, if you’re finding it hard to stay active or motivated, get an accountability partner. Including family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers into your exercise routine can add a level of commitment you wouldn’t otherwise strive to achieve. Schedule times to work out or different indoor or outdoor activities with your non-hibernation pals and stick with a relatively consistent plan throughout the winter.
You don’t have to opt for hibernation during the colder months of the year. In fact, remaining active is beneficial to your overall health, including keeping stress to a minimum, reducing achy joints and pain throughout the body, and keeping excess weight off. Get creative if you need to, and add in accountability through another person when needed to stay out of hibernation mode this winter.