Now that the weather is cooling, and winter is on its way (along with the obligatory holiday feasts of the season), many of us tend to begin packing on the pounds.
It is hard to get motivated to get up and work out on these cold, dark mornings, and depending on where you live, there may not be a lot of options for outdoor activities.
But don’t despair — there are plenty of fun ways to exercise indoors, or even enjoy the outdoors on cold snowy winter days!
Videos and books can be a great source of ideas for indoor activities for all ages. (For some of my favorite recommendations for fast, fun, easy workouts, visit http://www.newholisticliving.com/exercise.html.)
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Yoga or Pilates-based workouts can provide fun, relaxing stretching, strengthening, and toning moves for a variety of fitness levels, either with or without equipment. More aerobic dance-based workouts can also be a lot of fun, and can get the blood flowing and get you warmed up and feeling great in a hurry — it’s a great way to beat back the winter blues!
The important thing to remember is that in order to keep your fitness level up throughout the winter, you’ve got to not only get moving, but make it a habit (and if you’ve been quite active, you know it’s addictive!). But in order to make it a habit, you have to first make it a priority. You may have to push yourself a bit at first — remember it takes 21-30 days of consistent practice to form a new habit. But once you’ve gotten your body used to moving and grooving, you’ll find you won’t want to stop!
The body needs movement, and it needs it often — lots of it.
It may be hard to fit exercise into your schedule at first, but you will reap a host of benefits that will make the time invested well worth it.
Activity not only raises your body temperature (important on cold winter days!), but it also relieves stress, improves your mood, and strengthens your immune system, so you will be less likely to catch any of the winter-time bugs going around. And with all that’s going around this winter, you really can’t afford NOT to exercise!
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And remember, you don’t have to exhaust yourself, or spend hours of boredom on a treadmill. 30 minutes per day (or sometimes less, if you’re doing the right activities) is enough to be of benefit, and you can break this into segments if you like.
However, if you’re doing something you enjoy, you’ll find the time will fly by anyway!
Besides videos or structured workout routines, here are some other ideas for fun ways to exercise in the winter:
- Swimming: Many gyms or your local “Y” have indoor pools which can be great exercise year-round
- Dance classes: You you can find numerous classes for all different types of dance, from hip-hop to belly-dancing, at many fitness centers or other local venues, often for a quite affordable price. The recent resurgence of popularity in Ballroom and Latin dancing has introduced many to this fun activity — and it’s great exercise! There are many local dance studios in most metropolitan areas, where you can find both group and private classes. (If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, we recommend Emerald City Ballroom.)
- Depending on the climate where you live, you may also be able to find outdoor winter activities which are great exercise, and fun for the whole family, such as ice skating, or skiing (both cross-country and downhill skiing provide a GREAT workout, as well as the exhilaration of the great outdoors!)
So go ahead, try some of these ideas — mix them up however you like, to find what you enjoy the most. Once you’ve made physical activity a priority for a couple of weeks, you’ll find your body craving it daily, and your enjoyment level increasing, along with your health and well-being.
Have a great winter, be well, and above all else, have fun! (For more fun workout ideas, visit http://www.newholisticliving.com/exercise.html.)