It’s February. It’s cold and dark and ever dreary. But your health and fitness must go on! Need some inspiration on ways to make health and fitness easier during the tough months? Here are 5 ways you can take away the sting of winter workouts.
- Thanks to the digital age that we live in, there are thousands of fun and interesting workout videos on the market. Check out your film rental store, library and even your local drug stores for anything from yoga to belly dancing. Check out Collage Video (www.collagevideo.com) where you can watch and download myriad workout styles inexpensively.
- Don’t overlook the value in stretching. Because the physiology of stretching requires the opposite muscle group to gently contract, you will see a slight improvement in muscular tone simply from stretching. The best part is that you can plop down on your cozy floor in front of the tv and get the benefit from stretching. If you’re unsure of which stretches to do, a quick search on the internet will give you plenty of options.
- Many people think that fitness is “all or nothing:” either you are committed to the gym 5 times every week or you don’t go at all. Remember, any exercise is better than none. If you risk skipping the gym all together in the winter months try this: take a look at your normal weekly routine. Choose two days each week and make a commitment to hit the gym on those days. A good tip is to aim for one gym visit during the week (who can’t do that?) and one on the weekend (you can certainly do that!). This way, you can enjoy the other 5 days in the week knowing that you don’t “have” to go to the gym. Guilt free and you will be healthier come Spring.
- Try this mini workout:
Jog in place: 1 minute
Jumping Jacks: 40
Chair sits: 15
Push Ups on the knees: 10
Ab crunches: 15
Complete these 5 exercises in a row. Rest for 1 minute, and repeat two more times. This mini workout will only take 12 minutes and will keep you stronger and healthier than if you had done nothing. For the Chair Sits: Stand in front of a sturdy chair with feet shoulder distance apart. Reach your arms forward as you extend your hips back to sit in to the chair. Once you’ve touched the chair with your hips, press into the heels and stand back up to starting position.
- If you just don’t have time in the morning or at night to exercise, make an effort to go for a short walk at lunchtime. Despite the weather, a 10-minute walk will boost your energy and mood, lower your blood pressure and burn calories. After your short walk, take the stairs back to your office. These two activities 3 times each week will help in your fitness efforts.
10 years of fighting the winters in New York City inspired me to move to Southern California where I could run in the mountains and on the beach year round. The challenge to winter workouts was always an issue for my clients and myself. I found that the biggest challenge to winter workouts was motivation. As humans, we simply want to hibernate during the dark cold months. It’s really important to remember that your instinct and physiology are going to direct you towards the couch instead of the treadmill. In order to stay healthy and make progress you first have to recognize that while you may not want to workout, you have to find ways to make it happen. Override your mood and compromise on some creative at-home workout. I found that most of my clients exercised less in the winter months- a mere fact- but we could always find way to fit something in.