We’re getting closer and closer to springtime, some days you can even taste the fresh spring air! But the famous Punxsutawney Phil predicted we still have some cold, snowy, wintery days ahead of us. What better way to cure the winter blues than to exercise your way through the winter? Not only will you keep the blues away with that all-natural serotonin increase, but many wintertime sports burn tons of calories and whip you in to shape.
So take advantage of the winter months to do some exercises that you wouldn’t do during the summer time.
Quick tip: Grab a buddy! Trying new things is always easier when you have someone to try it with you, plus joint workouts have been shown to be more effective (and less vulnerable to excuses!).
Do the snow-covered fields make you long for the days of hikes and walks outside? Try snowshoeing! While those old wood-framed snowshoes hanging up in your Grandpa’s garage are pretty fun to look out, these days wood-frames are of the past and shiny aluminum frames make sure you’re snowshoeing in style. Plus, snowshoeing is the fastest growing winter sport in the world, so join the many who are trying it! The sport is easy to learn, very inexpensive and poses very little risk of injury. Add in the fact that you can burn more than 600 calories per hour and you’ve got yourself a sure way to soak up some winter beauty and get in a great workout.
Quick tip: You can rent snowshoes very cheaply at REI, State Parks, and other sport stores. Renting them is a great way to try out different types of snowshoes and get advice from experts.
Not up for a winter walk? Swim, steam, sauna, repeat! Despite its reputation as a summer sport, swimming is a great winter workout because it’s indoors. Swimming works all of the major muscle groups, strengthens your posture and increases your cardiovascular fitness. After your laps, reap in the rewards of a relaxing pause in the steam or sauna room. A short time in the heated room will help detoxify the body and boost the immune system. The body is even more open to these benefits after a workout, so it’s perfect after your swim session.
Snowshoeing and swimming are well known winter exercises, but what’s this Tabata workout that everyone is talking about? Tabata workouts are known for 20 seconds of hard, high intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest and repeating those intervals several times. It’s hard work but you’ll see the benefits and you’ll spend less time working out. Basically, it’s a flexible form of interval training, making it the perfect type of workout for winter time sessions on the treadmill, the weight room, or even at home.
Quick tip: For tabata workouts, make sure you do a little preparation before your session so you can plan what’s coming next to maximize your interval times. For more information, check out http://tabatatraining.org/
Feeling a little sluggish? Looking to stay motivated through the winter months? Write an exercise diary that describes how you feel on days when you worked out compared to those days that you didn’t. Exercise will make you feel invigorated and keep those winter blues at bay, and you’ll get to see the results first-hand.
What types of winter workouts do you do to keep healthy and happy through the freezing temps?