When the long dark days of winter descend, it can be difficult to get motivated to leave your warm bed in the morning, let alone lace up your sneakers and go outside. However, during the winter months its more important than ever to keep up with your exercise routine.
Exercise boosts serotonin levels (the positive-mood-stimulator), which reduces the likelihood of seasonal depression. Fitting in your winter workout also helps in productivity and motivation, and immune system support. Less colds? Yes, please!
You don't have to pay for a monthly gym membership to stay fit. We've come up with some great ideas for how to enjoy exercise outdoors during the winter season!
Safety tip: Be sure to wear light-colored and/or reflective clothing, and lights when venturing out into the cold. It can get dark faster than you may realize, and it's better to be safe and be seen.
The Best Outdoor Winter Workout Ideas
Climbing up that hill after every ride down will get your heart pumping! You'll definitely work up a sweat, so be sure whatever you wear under your jacket is wicking and insulating.
This is a wonderful low-impact workout that burns a ton of calories. Skis can be rented, and there are often easy courses to try out, but it can really be done around any snowy park. Just remember to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, and a high-protein snack in case the course is longer than you expect.
There are a lot of businesses that could use an extra hand to remove snow from walkways and other outdoor areas. Someone to help shovel sidewalks is often appreciated at homeless shelters, veterans homes, community centers, or churches. Even just offering assistance to a neighbor or friend is a great way to burn off some extra calories while donating your time to help others.
Push yourself to improve each time you go to the rink! Once you feel steady, try skating as fast as you can for about 20-30 feet then stop, touch the ice, and sprint back. Do this three times, then take a break with a slow lap around the rink. Repeat the circuit five times.
Snowshoeing or Snow Trekking
Snowshoes are essential in deeper snow, but you can trek through the park or around the neighborhood in a pair of nice warm boots. Find a park with big open areas, and divert from the path to walk through less packed snow. It will take more effort as the snow sinks beneath your feet, making a better workout!
Even if you decide to take the workout indoors, the important thing is that you keep moving throughout the winter season.
[Credit: Melnick, Meredith. Winter Fitness: 9 Healthy Outdoor Cold-Weather Workouts. Huffington Post.]