When the weather gets wintry, it can be difficult to think about exercise, especially if you’re all cozied up under your Snuggy and longing for summer to return. However, one thing that people tend to forget is that the cold weather actually makes it easier to exercise. Just bundle up in layered sports gear, and hit the road to get your muscles pumping and your heart rate up.
One reason why it’s so important to keep up with routine exercise during the cold weather is that holiday indulgence can wreak havoc on our weight loss goals. You might just be doing your body a big favor by working off those Christmas cookies that you didn’t mean to eat. Exercise, even just a brisk walk, can help blood sugar levels return to normal after eating too many carbs in one sitting. And you could release some pent up stress that has you heading straight for the donut shop.
Ideas for getting exercise when it’s cold out:
Take a jog with your dog. There is definitely an advantage to going jogging in the winter time. Once you get moving, you won’t feel the cold and it will actually be very easy to sustain your jogging pace, probably easier than in the summer when sweat is pouring off your tired body. If you are prone to respiratory problems due to summer pollen counts or mold spores and other allergens, you can breathe easy in the crisp, frigid air of winter. For many people who suffer from seasonal allergies, a winter jog in 32-degree temps can actually feel amazing.
Shovel snow. Is your driveway covered with a blanket of frozen white stuff? Instead of calling the plow guy, why not get your body moving and soak up some solstice sunshine as it reflects off the frozen crystals. Again, it can be difficult to motivate when the radiators are pumping out drowse-inducing heat. But once you bundle up and step outside, you’ll soon feel your muscles coming back to life. You might even catch a natural high as your body gets a dose of needed vitamin D from the sun, and the blood flows through your body as your muscles do their hard work. All while accomplishing a very useful task – shoveling a path for your car to get in and out of the driveway.
Hit the local indoor pool. Some people only swim when the weather is 80 degrees or above. If you’re not one such person, pop on your bathing suit, layer up, and head over to your local YMCA or other type of fitness center that has indoor swimming. It will feel so good to warm up those muscles in the heated pool, and you can get in some great, low-impact cardio while you’re at it. Once you’ve gotten in a full workout in the water, you might even treat yourself to a small holiday goodie as a reward for burning off those extra calories.
Hike the wilderness. December has its share of sunny days and the cold is still crisp without being unbearable. It’s a great time of year to work off those extra holiday calories with a vigorous and stress-relieving nature walk. Do you live near some good hiking trails? Pull on your boots, layer up and don’t forget your cell phone and a bottle of water. Even better if you manage to take a hiking buddy along with you. You’ll feel terrific after enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells of nature while trekking through the mountains.