The fireplace is cozy. There’s a tin of cookies a neighbor has brought by. Outside is gray and drizzly. What’s another day camped out, drinking hot cocoa, staying inside?
With the exception of winter sports athletes who wait for that first snowfall, most people’s exercise habits decrease, if not completely disappear, during the winter months. As a personal trainer, much of my time is spent, in spring, coaxing my clients out of winter lethargy. But it doesn’t have to happen that way.
Before being sucked into the holiday-winter-no-exercise-high-calorie-foods trap, plan your winter exercise and stay active, stay warm, and stay fit during these cold winter months. Plus, winter brings cold and flu season. Instead of standing in line at the pharmacy and getting zapped by the latest strain of the latest virus, exercise can keep you healthy by boosting your immune system.
Here are 6 tips to avoid the winter exercise humdrums:
- It’s just winter: Really. It’s not the end of the world. Winter happens every year. And, yet, we all seem to be surprised about it. So, instead of dreading the cold snaps and frosty mornings, prepare for them! (Because it’s going to happen again … and again … and again.) So, change the way you feel about winter weather.
- Bundle up: Not the George Costanza winter-coat bundle up, instead, invest in good, quality gear. Long underwear should be either synthetic or wool, as well as socks. Cotton is not a good winter clothes choice. And it doesn’t have to cost a million. There are many second-hand stores in the NYC area that sell previously owned clothes. Be aware of how long you can be outside safely. And go outside!
- Keep your brain active: Cozy up with a good book, a board game, crossword puzzle, or clear off a table in the corner with one of those 10,000-piece puzzles that is all blue sky! Our bodies go into a near comatose state while watching TV, so unplug and get those neurons bouncing around.
- Walk … everywhere: Walk to the bus. Walk around your favorite museum. Walk while shopping, even if you’re not shopping. Walk the stairs. Park in the farthest spot. Walk to the park. Every step counts, and the more used to walking around the cold city, the better you’ll be! Download a walking app and make it a family affair.
- Try something new: Snowshoeing, ice skating, indoor swimming pools, winter hiking … most of these activities are just a subway ride away in New York City. Coax your office into doing a winter excursion, instead of the yearly high-calorie office party. Consider putting together a weekend outing group to explore these exercise opportunities with your family. Winter is just starting, so now is a great time to get hooked on a winter sport.
- Get a wingman: Working out is hard to do when it’s cold and there’s Netflix. So now is the time to succumb to peer pressure. Keep yourself accountable with a workout wingman. If you know that your friend is getting up before dawn to meet you to work out, it’s a great incentive to keep working out and keep a friend!
Here are just six easy ways to stay active during the winter. Let’s face it: winter happens. Finding creative ways to stay active during winter months is the best way to keep fit and healthy, and, in doing so, probably keep some of those nasty winter bugs away as well!