Staying on top of your health and fitness plans during winter can be a real bear. It’s cold outside, there's less sunlight during the daytime, and all those hearty, stick-to-your-bones winter meals abound. But ultimately, focusing on your fitness and overall wellness during these months — even when hibernation is so tempting — means more happiness for everyone.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for staying active during the winter, but I have a set of tried and true tips that will make sure you find what works for you and your family:
1. Try something completely new.
Our minds and bodies get tired of doing the same old workouts. Shake up your health and fitness routine by trying a completely new-to-you activity. Get a personal trainer, bundle up and take a hike, or go for a swim.
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2. Join a group.
Exercising with a group can help motivate you, make you more accountable, and just be more enjoyable. Look for a group exercise program that interests you or enlist your neighbors, family, and friends to start your own.
3. Include your entire family.
Staying active with your family offers the same benefits as joining a group, but might just also make it easier for you to stay active without taxing your family’s schedule. Instead of waiting for your partner to get home from the gym or after a child’s sports practice to exercise, group everyone together for family fitness.
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4. Focus on the fun.
You should definitely try new activities, but if you loathe a particular form of fitness, don’t do it! Find fun activities that work for aerobic (e.g., running), anaerobic (e.g., strength training), and flexibility (e.g., yoga) exercise that you find enjoyable. You’re more likely to stick with it if you’re having fun.
5. Have a home back-up plan.
Finding yourself snowed in or just too short on time to get to the gym is no excuse. Have a list of back-up workout options you can do at home, such as Z Living’s Fitness First Class
for fast and challenging home workouts.
6. Play more.
Put down your smart phone and pick up a game of tag with your kids. Simply spending more time playing with friends and family will keep you active while putting everyone in a better mood.
7. Find an app.
Still addicted to your gadgets? Then find a few apps that help keep you moving. From holding yourself accountable by checking in to the gym on Facebook to keeping track of your daily steps, the options for app motivation are plentiful (and often free!)
8. Make a new playlist.
Music is a wonderful distraction, motivator, and mood elevator. Put together a fresh playlist or find one collected by a professional trainer to get you moving.
9. Think outside the box.
Don’t get stuck on the idea that the only way to exercise is to head to a traditional gym. Look for creative options such as parkour, fencing, or dancing to burn calories this season.
10. Incorporate other interests.
If you can’t get into exercise for the sake of exercise itself, then look for activities that incorporate other interests you have. Like history? Go hike around a historical site. Love science? Set up a few experiments with exercise science to track your progress. Let fitness be a means to an end instead of the entire focus and you’ll be happier.
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If you try all of those options and still can’t find something that helps keep you active, then at least you’ve made it closer to spring and hopefully the promise of warmer weather will inspire you.