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By: Jason Lewis, Guest Author
Think bears are the only creatures who hibernate? You might want to think again. We human beings go into our own lethargic state whenever winter rolls around. Maybe it's the cold temps and short days. Or maybe it's all the starchy comfort food that's so popular this time of year. Whichever is the case, is it any wonder our motivation to exercise plummets during winter? Never fear, though. In this post, we'll share how to keep your motivation strong even when nights are long and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.
Embrace the Cold
The first tip is also the simplest: embrace the cold and get outside anyway. Winter is a great time to work on your cardiovascular fitness, especially when there's a layer of white powder on the ground. Running or walking through snow adds extra resistance to each step. Here are some ways to get the most from your wintertime aerobic activities, courtesy of the people at Fitness magazine:
- Wear a pair of trail shoes rather than your usual summertime footwear. This will give you more support on uneven terrain.
- Stick with flat areas. Running up hills can make you prone to falls.
- Take shorter strides to avoid straining feet and calf muscles, which must work extra hard to keep your balance on snowy ground.
- Run as soon as the snow falls, before it has a chance to harden.
Work Out at Home
Blustery gray days can make venturing out to the gym the last thing you want to do. So why not bring the fitness club to your home? You only need a small amount of space to get an amazing workout. Here are some home gym equipment ideas:
- A Bosu balance trainer, which adds extra challenge to every routine.
- A set of dumbbells. Fixed weights are fine if you have no room for heavy plates.
- A yoga mat to cushion your body and for flexibility training.
Get More for Less
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) allows you to get maximum benefit from a minimum amount of exercise time, according to fitness writers for the Huffington Post. This innovative approach keeps you moving throughout short, intense bursts of activity followed by short rest (or reduced activity) periods, for as little as 10-15 minutes per session. Here are a few benefits of HIIT:
- A more active metabolism that lasts for hours after your workout, thanks to a body process known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
- No need to use weights or other equipment unless you want to, since many HIIT routines are based on your own body weight.
- Weight loss and muscle gain at the same time, due to the mixture of cardio and resistance training.
Head to the Gym
Yes, earlier we said that visiting the fitness club may be the last thing you want to do during wintertime. Still. There are reasons why the gym could be your best bet for staying in shape during cold weather. Consider:
- Many gyms offer lower rates, trial specials, and other incentives during winter, especially in January, according to Consumer Reports. So you can try a gym on for size before making a full-blown commitment.
- Some gyms are like ghost towns during cold weather, meaning you'll have easier access to the equipment you like to use.
- Gyms offer fitness classes and personal trainers, two ways to turbocharge your motivation.
- Last, but far from least, the gym is warm during the winter. What more could you want?
Keeping your motivation high during the cold season is sometimes challenging. But the ideas in this post can keep you chugging along until longer, warmer days return. Stick with it and soon you'll have results that will make even a hibernating bear stand up and take notice.
*Special thank you to Jason Lewis from the Atomic Family for this guest post to the Atomic Blog.