Freezing weather is no reason to let your fitness goals fall by the wayside. Sure, it’s easier to get outside for a run when it’s sunny and 70 than when you haven’t seen the sun for weeks, but there are plenty of ways to exercise without freezing your fingers off. Instead of resigning yourself to a winter paunch, try these tips for staying active all winter long.
1. Join a Fitness Class
We tell ourselves that signing up for a gym membership will motivate us to go, but the numbers say otherwise. According to data from Statistic Brain, 67 percent of gym memberships never get used. That’s an average of $58 down the drain every single month. Why the lack of follow-through? With monthly and annual memberships, it’s too easy to indefinitely put off going to the gym. But when you sign up for a fitness class that’s only a couple weeks long, procrastinating means missing your chance altogether. For a workout you’ll be excited to attend, sign up for a boxing, spin, pole dancing, or aerobarre class with a group of friends.
2. Build a Home Gym
When the roads are too icy to drive, a home gym is your saving grace. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or a reforming couch potato, you can meet nearly all your fitness needs within a small area of your home. You can build a simple home gym with a yoga mat, dumbbells, resistance bands, and a Bosu balance trainer for under $300—less than half the price of an annual gym membership.
3. Embrace Winter Sports
One of the best things about winter recreation is that, outside of busy ski areas, it feels like you have the whole world to yourself. While everyone else is hiding from the cold, why not embrace it and learn how to snowshoe or cross-country ski? You’ll see your favorite hiking trails in a whole new light while enjoying a heart-pumping workout that’s sure to keep your body temperature up. Just be sure to dress appropriately for the weather, paying special attention to keeping your feet, hands, and head dry and warm. If you’re new to winter sports, read the National Ski Patrol’s advice on dressing for warmth and comfort.
4. Take the Stairs
Exercise doesn’t only come in the form of sweaty workout sessions. Find creative ways to get your blood pumping throughout your busy day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the parking lot, stretch during your lunch break, and squeeze in mini-workouts during TV commercial breaks.
5. Grab Your Shovel
Shoveling snow might not be your idea of fun, but do it right, and you’ll get a surprisingly effective full-body workout. As you clear snow from the driveway, focus on pushing, not throwing the snow, and be sure to lift from your legs to prevent back injuries. If your driveway is too short to get proper workout, why not be a good neighbor and clear a few other driveways while you’re at it? Since shoveling poses a heart attack risk for adults over the age of 55, you’ll be doing a big favor for older neighbors.
Consistency is key to building a strong and healthy body, and that means not taking a break from physical activity just because it’s cold outside. Whether you’re a snow bunny or prefer to spend your winters in the comfort of a heated home, you can find ways to stay active even in the dead of winter. What are your favorite ways to work out in the winter months?