It’s always a little more difficult to get exercise in the winter and it can feel even more challenging if your favorite gym or exercise studio is closed around the holidays. Yet, tempting as it may be, this winter shouldn’t be spent snoozing until spring comes! Staying active through the winter and all year long will help you keep a healthy body weight, reduce the risk of heart complications, improve mood, and it will strengthen your joints, muscles and bones.
A little planning will help you get through the winter months ahead and with that in mind, here are five ideas to stay active this winter.
1. Practice Yoga for Overall Fitness
Yoga is a practice with a special focus on the body and the mind. Different elements of yoga offer benefits for both. The act of balancing and moving between various yoga poses will improve your physical fitness. While the practice of breathing and meditation will also help with mental well-being.
All you need is a mat, some breathable clothing and a little bit of space to stretch out!
If you are not sure where to start, there are many free yoga lessons online. YouTube has many instructional videos from beginner level to advanced or you can try the MindBody App to see which local studios and instructors offer live virtual classes.
2. Work Out with Free Weights
You don’t need an expensive home gym or fancy exercise machines for strength training. Building strength at home can done just as well with some free weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells. At-home workout videos take advantage of these pieces of equipment, and there are entire workout routines available online that use just free weights!
Free weights are lot cheaper than machines and work out your muscles a little differently, but they can still provide an excellent workout with a variety of exercise for the entire body.
3. Try Bodyweight Training
If you don’t have weights at home then you can always use only your body as resistance with bodyweight exercises! There are many variations of exercises like squats, lunges, crunches, pushups, mountain climbers and jumping jacks which are very effective calorie burners and muscle builders. As a convenient bonus, bodyweight workouts don’t require any equipment and take up very little space to do them. There are hundreds of bodyweight exercises to choose from and many guides to help you get started available online.
4. Dance the Blues Away
Dancing activates many parts of the body all at once and helps you stretch your muscles, build strength, and get your heart rate going all in one fun activity! Dancing has also been repeatedly linked with improved mental health across many large research studies. The more you dance, the healthier and happier you may feel.
Checkout the Mindbody app to try virtual dance classes like Zumba! It is a program that combines fitness with an energetic dance choreography to help you burn calories.
5. Take a Jog or Walk
Jogging or walking is an effective, low-maintenance form of exercise as long as you are dressed for the weather! Depending on the temperature, that may mean wearing more layers, long sleeves, and a hat/gloves. If you start off by warming up indoors with some simple stretches it will increase blood flow to your muscles and help prevent injury during you jog! Try it in sessions of 10-20 minute to start!