Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can skip out on aerobic exercise and strength training. Here are some tips to help you stay active throughout the cold winter months.
Winter is here. It’s cold — there may even be snow out your window! — and exercising is probably one of the last things on your mind. However, while it can be tempting to curl up on the couch with a book to wait the cold out, it’s important that you still motivate yourself to get moving!
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Keeping up with your aerobic exercise and strength training during the winter will take time and effort, but it will be worth it! After all, we all know that regular exercise is a good thing — and that doesn’t stop being true just because it’s winter.
Why aerobic exercise and strength training are so important
There are a lot of reasons why it’s important not to let your exercise fall by the wayside just because it’s gloomy out. Not only can exercise help strengthen your bones and muscles, but it can also boost your brain health, immunity, and sleep quality. Plus, it can reduce your risk of various diseases and make everyday activities like carrying groceries and climbing stairs easier.
Specifically, aerobic exercise can lower your blood pressure, decrease your resting heart rate, boost lung function, and increase good cholesterol. With regular aerobic exercise, your heart and blood vessels will become stronger, and you’ll have more stamina. Experts recommend that people aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Even if you can’t quite reach those numbers, remember that some exercise is always better than none at all.
Strength training, which involves exercises that improve strength and endurance, also has many health benefits. Doing exercises like squats, deadlifts, push-ups, bench presses, lunges, and planks regularly will improve your balance, increase your muscular strength and endurance, and even strengthen your bones.
4 tips for getting exercise in daily
It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise every day during the short, cold days of winter, but we have a few tips to keep you on track.
1. Establish a routine
If you’ve fallen out of exercising over the last few months, jump back in! If your New Year’s Resolution was to start exercising, you’ll need to make a routine from scratch. Set a specific goal and create a weekly routine to reach it. The more you exercise and follow your schedule, the quicker it will become a habit.
2. Put it on your calendar
If you repeatedly skip your exercise routine, put it on your calendar. By prioritizing exercise the same way you might do with meetings, you’ll always have time set aside to work out.
No time before or after work? Exercise during your lunch break! A brisk walk outside, around the office, or through a shopping mall will help you stretch your legs and get you ready to take on the second half of the day.
3. Get a buddy
Friends aren’t just great for conversation. They’re also perfect workout buddies. A friend will hold you accountable, offer support, and make exercise more fun, whether you’re walking, hitting the gym, or attending an exercise class together. So, if you’re having difficulty falling into a routine or finding motivation, call a friend! If none of your friends are up for it, you can always join an exercise group or a Zoom class for social pressure and support.
4. Change your morning routine
You can also make some simple changes to your morning routine to increase the likelihood that you exercise. For example, you can program your thermostat to ensure that your room is warm enough for a workout when you wake up. You can also place your workout clothes near a heater or even sleep in them! This way, you’ll be ready to exercise as soon as you wake up. Even something as simple as choosing a morning alarm song that will get you out of bed quickly and raise your heart rate can help encourage you to exercise!
As to what kind of exercise to do, that’s up to you! If you need some ideas for winter-friendly workouts, try:
- Brisk walking, hiking, or running to improve cardiovascular fitness, work your lower body, and increase bone health.
- Skiing and snowboarding to increase leg muscle strength, build core muscles, and improve balance.
- Skating laps around the ice rink to build your leg and core muscles and improve your balance and coordination.
- Swimming in an indoor pool to build endurance, increase muscle strength, and boost your cardiovascular fitness.
- Pilates and yoga to improve flexibility, mobility, and strength.
Stay fit and safe this winter
Winter exercise hibernation is all too common, but staying active throughout the winter is vital. Just be careful of any ice, and properly stretch and warm up to avoid injuries.
If you need help establishing a safe winter exercise routine or sustain an injury this winter, the physical therapists at New York Bone & Joint Specialists and All Sports Physical Therapy are ready to help you get moving. Set up your appointment today!