Just because the weather is getting cold, doesn’t mean we should stop exercising.
I will be the first to admit that the idea of winter conjures all sorts of ideas in my head, including sitting around the fire, drinking hot cocoa (or toddies, if you’re feeling frisky), and eating every piece of sugary food within a mile radius of my body. Cold weather triggers a natural reaction in the brain that makes us want to store fat for the winter, and become complacent with our exercise.
Many of us fall into that trap and gain a few extra pounds during the winter, which is totally fine and normal! However, I caution that it’s a good idea to keep a tight wrap on how far you let your fitness regimen go. It only takes 33 days to create a habit, and if your winter habit is eschewing all forms of physical activity, you will have a rough wake-up call come Spring, when you have to work doubly hard to get your body back into fighting shape. There are also winter vacations to warm places to think about, because escaping from the cold and landing on a beach is a lot more fun if you aren’t concerned about any excess weight.
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So, the goal is to keep exercising during the winter, even if you don’t want to. I would say it’s fine, and even normal to cut down your exercise regimen a little, but you should try not to lose it entirely, because even a little exercise is way better than none, and will make it easier to get back into it when the weather thaws.
Here are a few ways you can stay warm while exercising during the winter months:
Take it slow. Exercising in cold weather really requires a warm up. You can do jumping jacks or running in place, but the idea is to get your blood running before you even go outside.
Drink warm beverages. Tea is a great way to warm up your insides before a brisk run, and the caffeine boost doesn’t hurt, either.
Exercise during mid-day. It will likely be too cold in the mornings and evenings, so if you can break away from work for a brisk early afternoon walk or run, it’ll be much more palatable than jumping out of bed and into the snow.
Buy warm socks. Thermal socks are really important to keep your feet warm, since they are likely to get cold quick.
Wear layers, so you can take clothes off as your body heat rises.
Rope in a friend or two, because it’s a lot easier to get outside if you have friends willing to do it with you.