Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t stay active outdoors! Here’s how you can make the most out of your winter with some outside fun.
Staying active is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle for numerous reasons. And it’s shown that consistency with activity, not gravity of exertion, is correlated with many health benefits. But oftentimes, people find themselves in either two extremes –
They either obsess over gym time or skip it all together.
So how can you stay active when the cold outside begs you to stay indoors? Activity in the winter oftentimes decreases with less-comfortable temperatures, but can be so beneficial for overall physical and mental health and well-being. It can be a tricky thing to find exercise that keeps you active during the winter months. But adding in even a short time of activity each day will help you to enjoy winter more, and not to mention your body and mind will thank you, too!
1. Layer Up
Although this won’t be everyone’s first option, don’t be afraid to pile on the layers for even a short walk outdoors. Just a 10 or 15 minute walk outside will help promote good blood flow and is a great time to breathe fresh air at a time of year when it’s hard to make it outdoors. A couple things to try when layering for the cold: first, start with a water-wicking under-layer to keep sweat from staying near your body. Next, layer on a thermal layer like a half-zip pullover or long-sleeve shirt. Last, zip up with a light but warm coat. Pair with leggings, scarf, hat, ear muffs, gloves, and warm socks. Spending just a little time outdoors can be an instant mood booster. Layering is key when it’s cold.
2. Utilize Your Basic Home Gym
Use the winter as a time to make use of your space at home and enjoy a combo of HIIT or low-impact movement. You don’t have to have a ton of space to get good movement in. And there’s also the perk of not having to leave home when the air is frigid. Lay out an exercise mat, do some yoga or pilates, or set an interval timer for some jump or stationary squats.
3. Play with Friends
Make movement in the winter more enjoyable with friends by planning outings together! When it’s in the calendar, you’re more likely to commit. And having someone else to run with, walk with, or whatever other movement you enjoy together will make doing it in the cold more fun! In addition to the physical benefit of moving together, you’ll also enjoy the mental benefits of developing good friendships!
4. Move Throughout The Day
It doesn’t have to be a long workout to be beneficial. Studies have actually shown that by moving regularly throughout the day you may find more health benefits than doing only one longer period of exercise. Simply get up and walk around every so often while working. Doing so will keep your brain sharp and joints limber when you can’t make it outdoors as frequently as you may have done in the warmer months.
5. Make Memories Doing Outdoor Sports
Winter is a great time to enjoy outdoor sports such as skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. If you’ve never tried winter sports, challenge yourself with something new to keep you active! The benefits of this movement will exceed the physical aspects as you make memories with friends and family.
And understand that even if you’re not as active in the winter months, it’s OK!
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Victoria Yates, RN is a Registered Nurse & Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor based in Westchester, NY who focuses on helping women reach a healthier relationship with food and their bodies. She is passionate about guiding others reprogram negative thoughts around food and body image so they may experience a truly joyful life. Learn more about Victoria Yates Nutrition.