As opposed to warmer times of the year, winter might make it harder to stay active. Yet, it is not an excuse to relax into a more sedentary lifestyle.
Here are some tips to stay fit this winter:
Reframe the way you think about exercising in the cold.
It may seem mentally daunting to take a walk or run outdoors during the winter, especially if the temperatures are chilly where you live. Would you feel more mentally equipped to handle the cold if you knew that a brisk walk or run in the cold had longevity benefits? Getting out into the elements – to work out or just chill – not only helps activate your brown fat tissue, the ‘good’ kind that generates energy and helps burn calories, but, taken in small doses, can actually turn on your longevity genes. Turns out, short periods of adversity stimulate the body’s defenses against aging without doing harm, a resilience-building phenomenon known as ‘hormesis.’ In fact, getting cozy with cold is credited not only with anti-aging effects, it’s showing promise as a preventative treatment for dementia by taming inflammation and oxidative stress. Instead of fearing the cold, embrace it with a mindset change!
Embrace outdoor exercise by acknowledging the benefits.
Aside from embracing the benefits of cold exposure, there are other benefits associated with outdoor exercise that can empower you to bear the outdoors this winter. For instance, outdoor exercise has been associated with improved energy and mood when compared to indoor exercise. In a study, researchers associated outdoor exercise with “greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression” when compared to indoor exercise. Those who exercised outdoors were also more satisfied with outdoor activity when compared to indoor. Outdoor exercise also is a great way to get fresh air, which promotes mood, immunity, a healthy blood pressure and heart rate, digestive health and clean lungs.
Don’t forget about winter sports.
Perhaps a run or walk outside doesn’t fit the bill for you this winter – well, how does ice skating, snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing sound? If you’re in the city, it’s easy to increase your activity levels by heading over to your local ice skating rink for a skate. If you’re outside of the city or want to enjoy an active weekend trip, find the closest mountain for skiing and snowboarding or the closest area for snowshoeing – and enjoy some outdoor activities!
Try an online workout class!
If you want to enjoy exercise from the warmth of your own home this winter, many studios are providing single classes or monthly subscriptions to access their entire schedule. Some even have free trials to see if the class suits you. With a subscription (or two or three) you can have classes on-demand or live to fit into your schedule. To learn more about our favorites, read “Health Coach Tip – Virtual Winter Exercise”.
Stay fit this winter!