During the winter season, the cold weather can make it uncomfortable to exercise outside. But finding ways to stay physically fit throughout the chilly months is important for maintaining the health of your heart, muscles, bones, and lungs. Plus, staying active will help prevent the tendency to put on extra pounds over the winter.
You'll have a better chance of maintaining your workout consistency if you are prepared with a plan on how you'll attack the winter season. There are several options for exercising in the cold, but the one that's best is the one that aligns with your needs, schedule, and personality. Select the one that you feel you'll stick with.
Strength Train in the House: Dumbbells, Bands and Bodyweight Exercises
With some dumbbells or stretch bands, you can get in a full-body strength training work without leaving the warmth of your house. Dumbbells and exercise bands are available at your local athletic store. If you opt for dumbbells, try to get an array of weights so that you can adjust the load with each exercise.
You can work all the major muscle groups with dumbbells or bands, and bodyweight exercises. With dumbbells and stretch bands, you can strengthen your back with rows, build your chest with chest press, work your deltoids with shoulder press, and tone the arms with biceps curl and triceps extension.
Bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges, which strengthen your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, and pushups, which work your chest, shoulders, triceps and core, don't even require any equipment.
If you have a soft floor or a floor mat, you can work your abs, obliques and lower back with exercises like crunches, front and side planks and bridges.
Workout DVDs: Cardio, Strength Training, Yoga and Circuit Training at Home
Exercise DVDs allow you to participate in an instructor-led workout class in the comfort of your living room. Simply move the couch back and slide the coffee table over to clear some space. You can find exercise DVDs that feature cardio, strength training, yoga and circuit training.
If you don't want to buy an exercise DVD, you'll likely find a huge collection to rent for free at your library. The library option also allows you select a new workout each week.
If you have a portable audio player, you can also download audio MP3 workouts. There are also exercise podcasts you can subscribe to. They vary on how often a new episode appears, but they're a fun option for adding variety to your at-home workouts.
Join a Gym: Pay More to Work Out Inside
Shelling out more money during the holiday-filled winter season may not be an exciting idea, but having access to a gym when it's cold will make a huge impact on your motivation to get in a workout. A winter workout isn't a big deal when you know you'll be able to exercise in a climate-controlled environment. Plus, you'll have access to everything you need for a comprehensive workout.
Most fitness centers have an array of cardio machines, including treadmills, elliptical machines, stair-climbers and stationary bikes. You'll also find dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and weight training machines for building strength and lean muscle. Many gyms also offer fitness classes and you can show up at a scheduled time for an instructor-led dancing, kick-boxing or water aerobics class.
Purchase Winter Exercise Clothes: Tights, Jacket, Gloves and a Headband
When the cold arrives, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to move your workouts indoors. On the market today are high-quality athletic clothes that are breathable and yet designed to keep you warm.
The design of running tights varies, but there are some out there that are made especially for exercising in cold temperatures. If you're self-conscious about wearing nothing but tights, it's okay to add a pair of shorts over the top.
Exercise fleece or jackets are light and breathable and thus able to keep you warm without restricting your movement or adding too much bulk. Plus, they can be worn over a base layer, like a long-sleeve workout top. Many also feature reflective details on the back and sleeves, which are ideal when daylight hours are scarce.
Additionally, a pair of gloves and a knit hat or headband are essential for keeping your fingers and ears warm and will make a huge impact on your warmth during an outdoor winter workout.