When it is cold outside, it can be difficult to keep yourself active and healthy. After all, it is incredibly tempting to curl up in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate or crawl back under the covers and go back to sleep. While either of those things is not inherently bad, they won’t help you stay active and fit during the winter months. Before you dismiss wintertime outdoor activities out of hand, remember that there really are some advantages to working out in the colder months, such as:
- You do not have to deal with the heat and humidity of summer.
- Cold weather can actually invigorate you.
- You can work out longer in cold weather than in extremely hot or humid weather.
- You can get your daily dose of Vitamin D from sunlight if the sun is not hidden behind clouds.
- You can actually boost your immune system by spending even a few minutes a day outside.
Staying Active in the Winter is Easier Than You Think
Staying active in the winter may take a little bit of planning, but it is easier than you think. It’s also extremely important for your overall health and well-being and can even ward off seasonal depression. Consider the following ways to keep yourself active during the winter months:
- Try a New Sport – Give a winter sport a try—think cross-country skiing, snowboarding, or ice-skating.
- Go For a Walk – A brisk winter walk will burn calories and leave you invigorated for hours afterward.
- Play with Your Kids – If you have children, simply go outside and play with them. Make snow angels, go sledding, or go for a walk in the woods.
- Join a Gym – If going outside to exercise is simply more than you can handle, consider joining (and actually going to) a gym, or walking with winter-weather avoiders in a local mall.
- Exercise Indoors – If you are not going out your front door under any circumstances, think about a new, fun, workout video. A yoga routine or a fun dance routine will get you off the couch and moving.
- Clean Up – If you are stuck indoors, consider getting a jump on spring cleaning—it will give you more time to spend outdoors when spring arrives. Cleaning out kitchen cabinets and closets can give you a real sense of satisfaction while keeping you active.
- Volunteer – If you cannot think of a good reason to leave the house for yourself, think about doing some volunteer work that will help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or hospital.
- Take the Stairs – If you live in an apartment or condo building with stairs, walk up and down the stairs for a great high-intensity cardio and leg workout. Even if you live in a two-story home, you can make multiple trips up and down the staircase on a daily basis, improving your fitness level.
- Join a New Team – Think about joining a bowling league or other recreational team sport. It can be much easier to engage in a physical activity when it is also a social event.
- Dance Party – Dance off the winter-time blue by turning up the volume on your radio and dancing around your home while you are cooking dinner or doing other tasks that require “wait” time.
Staying Active Doesn’t Mean Breaking a Sweat
As you can see from some of the activities listed above, staying active in the winter doesn’t always mean breaking a sweat. Sometimes it just means getting outside and staying engaged. Volunteering with an organization is a great way to stay active even if you are battling an injury or are not physically able to exercise. Joining a new club or a team is also a great way to stay active. Plus, getting out of your house and staying social is important for your mood and mental status.