Winter might just be the most difficult seasons for staying fit. From food-focused holidays to shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures, winter makes being active particularly difficult. But giving up on keeping active in the colder months can become a vicious cycle of low motivation and sluggishness that can lead to a lower mood and worsened health. Your best chance of staying healthy and happy this winter is by staying active and, yes, it is possible!
- Try some winter sports: If you want to embrace the winter weather, skiing and snowboarding can be tons of fun if you’re at all athletically inclined. Though going downhill might not seem like it takes much work, both skiing and snowboarding actually work your leg and arm muscles and can even tone your stomach as you maintain your balance. And if you’re not a fan of down-hill activities, cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing are two winter sport options that are major muscle exercises and don’t require as much practice.
- Make use of an indoor walking track: For those of us who don’t like winter sports (or who deal with particularly harsh winters), there are indoor options for staying active. While the gym is an obvious option, some gyms or community centers also offer indoor walking tracks that can serve as a more casual way to get your daily activity in. Take a friend and chat while you walk; you could even use your local mall as your indoor track, as long as you don’t get too distracted by the food court.
- Enroll in a dance class: Because of time changes, short daylight hours, and the general temptation to stay in your cozy home, it can be hard not to slip into inactivity in the winter. A good way to keep away from that pitfall is to keep a schedule and it’s easy to incorporate fitness into that schedule by signing up for a weekly fitness class. We suggest trying something fun like dancing (think Zumba, salsa, or even swing!) that will keep you active without feeling like a chore. When you have something you like scheduled, it’s easier to convince yourself to brave the elements. Plus, the fact that other people are there adds a social element that encourages you to keep coming back.
Whether you’re skiing, dancing, or just walking, doing something active throughout the winter is an essential part of staying healthy, both mentally and physically. It doesn’t much matter what activity you choose as long as it gets you out of the house and keeps you busy. Pair some consistent activity with healthy eating and social activity and you’ll find yourself getting through winter without straying too far from your fitness goals. A little miserable weather doesn’t mean you have to be miserable, too!