Staying Active When The Weather Gets Colder
If you are like me, you love being outdoors and enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, sites and smells of Summer. I love the Fall, too, especially when we are lucky enough to get a little extra sunshine and Indian Summer. I virtually always do my runs outdoors on trails and I do not even mind the heat of the afternoon in the Summer. But, the cold Winter, that is another story…
As important as exercise is to our health, healthy weight and sense of well being, the question is how do we find a way to stay active through the Winter months? Here are the answers:
1. Take a proactive stance today, before it gets cold. This means making a plan and following through with it. This does not mean allowing the weather dictate how much activity you do.
2. Bundle up. You can still have an awesome run, bicycle ride or hike with some extra clothing. Great breathable, warm, long sleeve materials, gloves, hats and socks exist for runners and athletes of all kinds. Wear it.
3. Pick up winter sports that involve serious activity. Cross county skiing is an awesome, scenic, beautiful activity and it is a great work out. Snowshoeing, downhill skiing and ice skating are all fun, social and great physical activities. If you can walk or hike you can snowshoe. If you can walk, jog or run, than you can cross country skii. If you are completely useless on skates, than you can’t ice skate.
4. Move it indoors. Okay, so you don’t like the gym atmosphere or seeing a lot of other people rock out to their I-Pods while they climb the endless stair stepper, get over it! It is about your health, your body and your energy level, sense of well being and longevity. Get into the gym, make it a regular habit, find a way that makes it fun and sustainable for you personally. For example: I find that if I can watch some sports on the TV’s in the gym then I can easily exercise on the elliptical, treadmill or stair stepper for an hour, no problem.
5. Bring it into your house. Yes, the price tags on some of the fancy new machines seem high, but there are millions of them for sale on places like ebay and craigslist that are very affordable. You do not need all the latest bells and whistles, monitors and computers. You just need a good, working apparatus that allows you to exercise whenever you want, whenever you have the time and whenever the weather is too severe to permit your outdoor exercise routine. A few years ago I put a stair stepper in my basement that does not take up very much space at all, parked a television in front of it and voila, instant home gym membership. Oh, and it had a faulty power cord that I fixed for $6.00. Grand total of the entire gym with delivery, set up, apparatus and full membership dues: about $300. You can do this!
6. Add those extra steps during your day. This means going up the stairs if it is only one flight up. My assistant in the office climbs five flights of stairs every single time she comes up to work, very impressive, but it is now her routine. Remember to park an extra few rows away from the office or the store when you are shopping. All of these extra bits of activity count and add up to calories and pounds saved and not gained.
7. Wear a pedometer. Keep track, set your goals, higher, higher and higher. If you are just beginning than set it at 7,000 or 8,000 steps a day and make it happen. If you are an expert at taking walks at lunchtime, climbing the stairs, parking further away from front doors, and all the subtle things that allow you to walk more and be more active during your day than shoot for a higher goal say 15,000 steps a day.
8. Remember the multiplier effect. All theses small, little changes throughout your day add up over time. Read “Doctor’s Orders: 101 Medically Proven Tips for Losing Weight” to understand how to make the multiplier effect work in your favor and lose pounds this Winter.
9. Set a goal. What do you want to do this Winter? I would say set a target goal for at least losing five pounds in the next three months and becoming stronger, fitter, healthier and achieving a higher energy level. Possible? Absolutely! Remind yourself of this goal, write it down, post it on your bathroom mirror, hold yourself accountable, don’t give up. You are worth it!