7 Tips to Stay Active This Winter
As the winter weather approaches the temptation to stay in your warm and cozy home increases. We get it, a lot of us turn into hibernating bears during the winter months and try and avoid the cold as if it were a plague. However, the winter season can also be a opportune time to accidentally put on extra weight. According to Livestrong there are a few major reasons why individuals gain excessive weight during winter:
- Seasonal Depression– It has been proven that winter can trigger seasonal affective disorder in some people (SAD). SAD is a form of seasonal depression caused by less-available sunlight during the winter months. The lack of light can potentially reset people’s biological clocks which can negatively affect mood, sleep, and hormones. Light can also play a role in affecting the brain’s release of neurotransmitters, which can affect mood and food cravings. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic estimates that about half a million people suffer from SAD, with symptoms such as profound sadness, irritability, lack of interest in activities that normally bring pleasure, inability to concentrate, extreme fatigue and an increased need for sleep.
- Less Physical Activity– Winter weather and cold often curb the level of activity in our lives. The cold often deters activities that people normally partake in such as outdoor activities like biking or hiking, out-door sports, or even something as simple as parking further away from a store in a parking lot. The problem is people’s eating habits don’t adjust to their decreased level of activity. Many people end up with “calorie surpluses” which lead to weight gain.
- Holiday Weight Gain– Many people blame the holiday foods and treats for their winter weight gain. On average a person puts on half a pound from mid-November to mid-January. That may not sound like a lot but it adds up year after year. The heavy, salty foods, sugary treats and high-calorie drinks can lead to water retention and bloating that make you feel larger, too.
- Winter Survival Mechanisms– Winter is also a time to overeat because of the pre-programming of your genes. Your body is designed to deal with winter scarcity, proposed a paper published in a 2014 issue of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. Researchers suggest people have a natural tendency to eat extra calories when the weather is cold, because, historically, food was less available.
Here at Live Cryo we always want to encourage you towards a healthier lifestyle and empower you with ways to stay fit and healthy. Truth be told, you can stay active this winter season with a few helpful tips and careful planning. Thanks to Active and WebMD, they have provided a few helpful tips to combat winter lethargy.
7 Tips to Stay Active During Winter
One of the biggest culprits with gaining weight during the winter and holiday season is we simply do less physically. Cold weather and snow can cause us to do less outside which results in less exercise. Winter, in general creates difficulty in maintaining exercise routines for some people. Here are tips suggested to stay fit outside the gym by Active.
- Stairs– Running or walking up or down stairs can be a great exercise. Incorporating stairs into your exercise regime will ensure you get a high intensity cardio and leg workout. If you’re new to using stairs for exercise, consider adding regular walking intervals every few floors by leaving the stairwell and walking the length of the hallway and back.
- Ice Skating– Skating can be a great aerobic workout that can be done socially and often free of charge in some areas. Tip: skating backwards can even workout your muscles in different ways. However, be careful skating backwards if you are a novice skater.
- Indoor Sports– Try considering local municipalities sport programs hosted in local community centers or gyms. You can enjoy sports like basketball, floor hockey, or other team sports. These leagues can be anywhere from recreational to highly competitive. The key is finding a group that fits your needs and skill level. Also, consider signing up for any number of aerobics classes, dance classes, or other group fitness courses through the winter.
- Mall Walking– If the winter weather is stopping you from walking outside comfortably consider walking inside a mall. A mall is often big enough to do indoor laps. In fact, for the average person, a brisk one-hour walk can burn up to 300 or 400 calories.
- Home Workouts– Take advantage of space in your own home to use workout DVD’s or look up different in-home exercises on YouTube. Home workouts can also be comprised of some pretty cost effective equipment such as: weights, resistance bands, a skipping rope, a stability ball, or a trampoline to help you receive a full body workout in the comfort of your own home.
- Active TV Viewing– It can be hard to miss one of our favorite TV shows. Why not be active while watching it? Try jogging in place or running on a treadmill while watching your favorite show. Also, consider squats, push-ups, or burpees in the middle of the commercial breaks.
- Snow Sprints– Are you brave enough to endure the winter cold and snow? Put on appropriate winter clothing long with water-resistant trainers or hiking shoes and you are ready. In the snow, you can try running, jogging, jumping, or even doing lunges. Doing activity in the snow can often make or muscles work harder and burn more calories with the extra effort we must give to stay stabilized or the resistance the snow gives. (Caution: with any Winter weather, be careful of ice when doing any physical activity outdoors).
As you can see the winter season doesn’t have to be less active and full of hibernation on our parts. We can choose to adapt and find new and even unique ways to stay active during the winter months. Staying active and creating a regular exercise routine during the winter will help keep your body healthy through the holiday season.