With dropping temperatures and shorter daylight hours outside, it is easy to give up your workout routine to hibernate on the couch. We know that everyone needs an occasional break or rest day from their workout routine. Rest days are important but during the winter time when it is cold outside, skipping a workout can easily turn into several weeks or even months. But after a week of not exercising, your body is already going through major changes and your body will start going through a process called deconditioning. But don’t worry, you can easily turn it around once you start exercising again.
When the temperatures outside drop, exercising outdoors or going to the gym can get rather complicated when the weather isn’t cooperating. Even though we can’t always control the weather, we have come up with some ways to adjust your routine without sacrificing the effects of deconditioning.
Get a Gym Membership
The best way to maintain your winter fitness routine would be to invest in a gym membership. Working out at the gym has its advantages but even during the winter time, it is possible that the weather will make it impossible to get to the gym.
We get it, a gym membership may not be ideal but it does take away from using the weather as an excuse to skip your workout during the winter and when it is extremely hot outside. But a gym membership will give you access to personal trainers, multiple fitness equipment, weights, potentially group classes, and other perks that you wouldn’t normally have access to if you didn’t have it.
Build a Home Gym
If going to the gym isn’t your cup of tea, building a home gym inside of your home or garage can make working out more convenient. We suggest finding a dedicated place in your home to place your home gym. Even if you don’t have a dedicated space in your home, you can still find space-saving equipment to use. We suggest starting with a few key pieces and you can expand your equipment as you go.
- yoga mat
- stability ball
- resistance bands
- medicine ball
- adjustable bench
- squat rack
- jump rope
- workout dvds or streaming workouts
- doorway chin-up bar
- cardio equipment
Just keep in mind that having a home gym is convenient but you may find yourself distracted during your workouts too. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a home gym to get an effective workout. But at some point, you will likely want to add cardio equipment and strength training equipment.
Focus on Strength Training
When you can’t get outside to workout, use the time to focus on strength training. Strength training not only builds muscle but it also helps build endurance too. Muscle endurance will allow you to do repetitive motions over and over without your muscles becoming fatigued. Focusing on building muscle endurance can help reduce muscle fatigue and potential injuries during your cardio workouts or doing daily activities.
The great thing about strength training for muscle endurance, you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment or heavyweight machines for it to be effective. You can use resistance bands, medicine ball, kettlebells, dumbbells, stability ball, or even bodyweight exercises such as the plank, squats, lunges, push-ups, and bridges.
Working out during the winter can be challenging, especially if mother nature doesn’t cooperate with your plans. Instead of stressing about how often you workout, try cutting back and increase the intensity of your workouts. We suggest scheduling one workout during the week, one on Saturday, and the third workout on Sunday. Working out mostly on the weekend will give you extra time to focus on accomplishing your goals during the winter months.
Before heading outdoors, begin stretching your muscles. Then do some jumping jacks, mountain climbers, or your favorite HIIT workout for 10 minutes to warm up your muscles. Put on several layers and bundle up before going outside. The movement will keep your body warm but it is important that you stay dry while working out. You may need to swap your regular workout gear for something that is waterproof.
Lace Up Your Skates
Whether you head to your local roller skating rink or ice rink, skating is a fun way to exercise. Skating will give you a full body workout without you even realizing it. Shake it up a bit by dancing while you skate or try skating backwards too.
Dancing is another fun way to burn calories. It is something that you can do at home or you can even head to your favorite spot to go dancing. If you head out to your favorite dancing spot, do watch your food and beverage intake. You could easily eat and drink the calories that you just burned.
Put on a Set of Snowshoes
Has mother nature dumped a ton of snow on the ground? Working out in the snow, even without a set of snowshoes, can burn more calories than walking alone. As you are walking, try adding squats and lunges to your winter workout routine. The snow adds resistance so you can burn more calories in the same amount of time that you burn while working out on a treadmill.
Cross Country Skiing
If you live near a ski resort, you can take up cross-country skiing. You can get a full body workout as you trek your way across the snow. Cross-country skiing is easy on the joints too. Most skiing instructors recommend that you start out on a machine packed ski trail or take a cross country skiing class if you haven’t ever been cross country skiing. Once you are graceful on your skis, you can make your own ski trails.
Head to the Mall
The mall is a great place to go walking. It is free and it is heated. Put your headphones in and enjoy a few laps around the mall. Most of the malls open early so that people can enjoy walking the mall without the crowds too! Take your workout up a notch and add stairs or walking up the escalator too.
Do you have access to an indoor swimming pool? Head to the pool and swim a few laps. Swimming is a great full body exercise. Plus, it is a great way for people who are looking for low impact exercises or have arthritis. Try learning new swimming strokes to take your workout up a notch.
Try Walking During Your Lunch Hour
During the work week, head outdoors during your lunch hour for a thirty-minute walk whenever possible. The temperatures will be the warmest during your lunch hour the middle part of the day. Plus, it is a great way to get some fresh air and bask in the sunshine.
During the winter time, you are more likely to give up on your fitness goals and hibernate inside the house. While rest days are an important part of your exercise routine, it is easy to fall into the trap and your rest day turns into several days or even a month. Don’t let that happen with our winter fitness plan.