Winter cold doesn’t mean you have to put exercise on ice. While snuggling on the couch with a cozy blanket, a plate of cookies and a steaming mug of cocoa may sound like the idyllic winter scene, it won’t look so pretty next spring when you try to squeeze into your favorite shorts. In addition to the physical benefits of exercising in the winter, exercising will help you beat the winter blues, too. And an invigorating walk outside in the cold can make you feel more alive and energetic. (However, if you have asthma or a heart condition, talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program outside.)How to Heat Up Your Exercise Routine
- Take advantage of calorie-burning cold. Cold air makes your body burn more calories to keep warm.
- Let it snow! In addition to walking or jogging, try fun outdoor sports like ice skating, cross-country or downhill skiing. Go sledding when the snow hits! Even making snow angels burns more calories than watching from the window!
- Head inside. Join a mall-walking program, swim laps, or join a gym or fitness center. Sign up for a group exercise class like aerobics, pilates, yoga or kick-boxing.
- Have a ball. Indoor sports keep exercise interesting and fun. Basketball is a great total body workout. Or gather a group of friends for a raucous volleyball team. No pro skills required! Check with your local YMCA or recreation center for leagues.
- Take the steps. If you’re cutting short your outdoor walk due to cold, make sure you get more steps other ways. Your goal should be to walk at least 10,000 steps every day (about five miles). You know the drill — take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the hallways at work, and park farther away.
- Get a workout buddy. Exercise is more fun with a friend plus you can motivate each other, especially on the coldest days of winter.
- Schedule workout time. Put it in your day planner just like you would a meeting or doctor appointment. That way you’re more likely to exercise when your inner couch potato is calling.
Cold Weather Exercise Tips
- Warm up longer and ease into your workout slowly.
- Exercise in daylight hours and wear bright colors (year round).
- Layer your clothing: an inner layer to keep perspiration off your body, a middle layer to trap heat, and an outer layer to block the wind.
- Wear mittens rather than gloves so warm air can circulate around your fingers.
- Keep your ears covered.
- Wear shoes with good traction to avoid slipping on ice.