How do you stay fit during the cold winter months? The beaches and pools of summer vacation aren’t calling to you. And not everyone can take time off for a luxury getaway. With the call of shorts and tank tops silenced, the cold is telling you to stay in. There are so many latest episodes to be watched and so much comfort food to be eaten.
Beach bodies and February fat aside, we all want to be healthy. Studies have shown that one of the keys to sticking with a lasting fitness program is having health as your aim. Exercising for looks or fashion trends rarely lasts. The secret is finding what works for you, what gets your heart pumping, and sticking with it. Take a look at these fitness hacks that have gotten many a couch potato off the couch and breaking a sweat, even during the winter months.
Work Your Body and Mind in the Garden
Your garden needs love even during the cold months. Turn your garden hobby into your fitness routine. Raking leaves, chopping wood, turning compost, and shoveling are all excellent ways to get exercise. Pruning and potting, any of the gentler activities make for perfect spaces of quiet for reflection and meditation. This is vital to mental well being.
Most gardening requires repeating the same motion over and over again. So be sure to warm up before working in your yard and incorporate some exercises for your core muscles as well to prevent back injuries. If you don’t have access to a garden of your own, try opting for community services and volunteering at local greenhouses. Or offer your help with others’ gardens, placing ads on local listings.
Dry Your Hair and Work Your Tush
Even if you rarely ever use a hairdryer, you know the cold months are the time to make sure your hair is thoroughly dry before going out. Make good use of that time with a variety of squats and leg lifts.
Even if your hair-drying routine is only a couple of minutes long, that’s all you need. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, tighten that core, and bend those knees. Try these variations that will tighten and lift that bottom line.
Take a Fitness Class
Fitness classes are great indoor activities for staying fit during the colder months. No matter what type of activity you want to get involved with, chances are there are several benefits. For instance, learning a defensive strategy like jiu jitsu will help build confidence and self-esteem and of course, acquiring a new skill always makes you feel better. Think about what makes you happiest during the winter, when the sun makes it shortest appearance in the sky and can make you feel a little more down than usual. Whether it’s karate, yoga, Pilates or spin classes, stay busy and active with indoor classes.
Go Running with Your Dog
Whatever the weather, your furry friend needs to get out every day. Studies show that dogs make for some of the best personal trainers. They’re faithful, hardworking, energetic, enthusiastic, and they won’t go easy on you. Best of all, they won’t charge you extra. Dogs are excellent running buddies. They won’t cancel because of appointments or bad weather. Go let the dog out.
Work Out at Work
You might want to be discreet about this one. But you can get exercise and get paid at the same time, even if you have a desk job. Try tightening your abs and squeezing your butt muscles slowly and then release slowly. Pace when you take calls. Fun fact: even fidgeting burns calories. Standing is better than sitting and walking is better than standing. You could hire an online fitness coach to get some expert help!
Play at the Playground
If you set your mind and body to it, the playground can be an excellent place to get your heart rate up and burn calories. Your kiddos will love it too. Try out these moves next time you’re out with your little ones:
· Good Ol’ Tag—Chase the kids, and let them chase you.
· Merry Go Around—Push your kids on the merry go around. They will want to go faster, and you’ll be begging for a break. Sprint around clockwise and then the other way.
· Monkey Bars—Helping your kids on the bars is a workout in itself. If you’re looking for something more, challenge yourself by hanging from the bars and lifting your knees for a little ab work.
Part of the fun of video games is playing the part, imagining you’re raiding tombs with Lara Croft. Unfortunately, many of us end up looking like Kirby after endless hours of gaming. Say goodbye to gamer gut! Video games can be more than just a finger and thumb workout. The most recent dance routines and boxing matches can burn up to 160 calories in 30 minutes. Don’t throw out that Xbox Kinect just yet.