5 Great Ways to Stay Active and Motivated Through the Winter

Winter is here, and your desire to stay in shape has gone. After all, swimsuit season is months away, and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa with hot cocoa watching your favorite TV show. The reality is that our winter activity levels are just as important as how we exercise in the summer. As tempting as it is to slack off, here are five ways to ensure you don’t.

Take your home gym to the next level

The single best way to make sure you exercise consistently this winter is to invest in home gym equipment. Your budget and physical abilities will certainly define what’s right for you; however, there are a few essential pieces that lend well to most healthy adults’ fitness routines. Dumbbells and kettlebells, for instance, can help you design your own customized workout using varying levels of weight. Resistance bands, which are portable and easy to store, are a great alternative to free weights if you don’t have a responsible adult handy to serve as a spotter. Depending on your end goal (weight loss, muscle bulk, improved reflexes, etc.), your home gym may also include suspension trainers, elliptical equipment, or martial arts training gear.

Give yourself an education in health

You already know that exercise is good for your muscles and waistline, but you might not have a full understanding of how physical activity relates to the rest of your body. Keep yourself motivated by learning all you can about health and fitness. Specific to exercise, you should learn how physical movements can help detox your body, improve circulation, and encourage cellular growth. This Today article briefly touches on exercise and detoxification and can serve as a starting point for your personal quest to understand your body.

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Learn to rest and relax

If you’ve noticed that you aren’t working out quite as much this winter, you are not alone. Lack of access to the outdoors is one of the main causes of winter weight

gain. It’s very easy to panic and then try to make up for lost time when you realize that you haven’t exercised in several days. While admirable, this all-or-nothing attitude can actually damage the very body you’re trying to protect. A better way to stay motivated and in peak physical condition is to give yourself rest days between strenuous workouts. The Active Times explains, “Resting is just as important as working out because it’s an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle.”

Enjoy the sunshine when you can

Few things make it harder to stay happy and healthy than being sequestered indoors for weeks on end. But the sun can’t hide forever. Even if you aren’t beating the pavement, you should strive for at least 15 minutes of sun exposure on days when it’s possible. You don’t necessarily have to go outside if you have a window with unobstructed access to the sun. Not only will soaking up the sun’s rays help regulate your body’s melatonin and serotonin production, but it will also boost your endorphins, according to the National Library of Medicine. These chemicals, which are produced by the brain, make you feel good. And when you feel good, you are more likely to seek out physical activity.

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Stay socially active

Use your natural inclinations toward competition to your advantage by leveraging social interactions to bolster your fitness goals. You have numerous options to connect with friends and family, with fitness trackers being the most popular. Most wearable devices are internet-enabled and allow you to keep up with your friends and family as they battle the winter blues from their own bunker.

Remember, just because the sun disappears prematurely each day is not an excuse for you to neglect your physical health. By investing in the right equipment, staying socially active, and giving yourself breaks between hard-core workouts, you can stay healthy, motivated, and focused until daylight is dominant, and nights are only long enough for sleep.

-Jason Lewis



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