Winter has been with us for awhile now, especially here in Alaska, and it can be difficult to always get a workout in when it’s cold, dark, and dreary out. While some daring souls aren’t afraid to get out and brave the cold (it was -25 yesterday!), most of us are not willing to. The usual trip to the gym can be a drag, and the cold and dark has a way of really zapping the energy from people through these long months. The double-edged sword is that your mind and body need exercise the most in the winter because of the lack of sun and warmth. So, I’ve come up with a few ideas that have worked for me to combat the winter blues. Hope you find these inspiring!
1) Fitness Classes– There are many fitness classes out there, everything from kickboxing to Zumba that have found creative ways to bring fun fitness indoors. The best way to stay motivated is to surround yourself with fitness nuts, and what better way to do it than to take a fitness class and be social all at the same time. If you’re looking for classes, talk to your local gym or dance studio and ask for a schedule of all the different classes they have to offer.
2) Swimming- While this is considered a warmer weather activity, a heated, indoor pool is a great way to exercise in the winter. Swimming offers a killer work out and is great for the whole body. Lap swimming has all the benefits of a hard long-distance run with none of the impact on your joints.
4) Keep Yourself Warm- Did you know that your body craves fatty foods naturally? Your body is trying to protect and insulate itself from the cold, therefore craving fatty rich food and storing it as fat to keep you warm. A way to combat this is to obviously keep yourself warm. Wear layers and heavy jackets when you’re outside, wear socks, drink green tea etc. And always be prepared with your meals, which leads me to tip five…
5) Eat and Drink WELL- Preparing meals in advance is something I try and do year-round. I’ll make a lot of something on like a Sunday, then store it in individual little tupperware so it’s ready to go through the week, so I don’t have to come home and cook every night of the week. Keeping a log and planning your meals is very important because this will stop you from snacking on foods that your brain may love you for, but that your body will hate you for until you work it off! Keep your body well-nourished with nutritious, real whole foods. Starting your day off with a fulfilling breakfast will jumpstart your metabolism. Warm organic oats with a little agave honey is so nice in the winter and also promotes slow release energy (this stops you from snacking on unhealthy sugary snacks in between meals). Be sure to stay away from processed foods. Alternatively, you can snack on a small piece of fruit with a handful of almonds to hold you over until you can sit down for a proper healthy meal. Stick to drinking plenty of water and green tea (I swear by the stuff!). Also, take your vitamins and make sure you’re taking your vitamin D! It’s a must in the winter!