How to Stay Active in Winter: 8 Cold Weather Workouts You Can Do without a Gym
The will to exercise can be difficult to gather up in the summer warmth, but in the winter motivation can seem impossible. Opportunities for physical activity disappear with the shorter days and inclement weather, and lockdowns mean that gyms and fitness centers might not be options. But you can still get a full workout at home, even without equipment! Here are 8 ways to stay active in the winter.
1. Bodyweight Exercises
The foundation of most workout routines, these are exercises that require little to no equipment, instead relying on your own weight to create resistance. They can help build strength and improve balance, coordination, and endurance without requiring a gym membership or exercise machine. You can perform them anywhere you have space in your home, and any equipment you use is optional. You can also use household objects to change up your routine; for instance, many people use a dining room bench or even a coach armrest to provide an incline to vary up exercises.
There are many different bodyweight exercises, but some of the most common include pushups, lunges, Burpees, planks, and crunches. Take a look online and you'll be sure to find a workout that meets your needs!
It's easy to characterize yoga as a stretching routine, but it's an endlessly adaptable form of exercise that can meet your needs regardless of age or fitness level. Those looking for a gentle stretching exercise can approach yoga from that perspective while those who want a more vigorous, cardio-focused workout can speed up the pace and even incorporate moves from other bodyweight exercises to increase intensity. YouTube and other streaming sites are full of yoga routines by experienced teachers, so take a look to find something that fits your experience level and fitness needs!
The ground may be icy, but there are still plenty of ways for you to safely get a brisk walk! It's probably best to avoid crowded, indoor locations right now (mall walking would usually be a common suggestion, especially for older adults), but nature trails are still available for you to get your steps in. Another overlooked option is a snowy field: ice won't form on grass, so your path will be steady. And it's the perfect place to let a dog run loose! Just make sure you're dressed warmly, in layers, and you're staying hydrated.
A snowy field is a great place for snow sprints if you want to increase the intensity. If the snow's particularly deep around you, this may be a great time to try out snowshoeing!
4. Stair Climbing
Don't have access to an outdoor spot for winter walking? Take the stairs! The vertical movement of climbing stairs increases resistance from gravity, which helps build leg strength quickly. Stair climbing is a dynamic cardio workout that you can incorporate into any point of your daily routine, whether you're home or at work, and any set of indoor stairs provides an opportunity for a workout unaffected by the weather outside. It burns more calories than running, so if you're looking to challenge yourself this winter, give it a try!
5. High-Intensity Interval Training
If you want to beat the winter blues, this demanding style of exercise can raise your metabolic rate, reduce heart and blood pressure, and increase oxygen consumption -- all changes that can help improve your mood. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates short bursts of intense exercise with intervals of lower-intensity activity, giving you the benefits of a longer duration of exercise within a much shorter time period.
6. Winter Chores
If you own a home, the work you're already doing in the winter is getting you in shape! Shoveling snow, cleaning the roof, and chopping and stacking firewood are great ways to burn calories and build strength in the cold weather -- you probably already knew that from how exhausting these tasks can be!
7. Outdoor Sports
If you have appropriate facilities that allow for social distancing, there are some great outdoor athletic pursuits to keep you active in the winter. Many areas have outdoor ice skating rinks, and wherever there's a safe hill available, you can ski or snowboard. No hills or rinks nearby? Try cross-country skiing! Both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can burn almost 300 calories every half-hour for an average-sized person.
8. Family Fun
Exercise doesn't always have to be structured! You can burn just as many calories having fun with your family outdoors. Ice skating, snowball fights, and sledding can burn hundreds of calories. You can get the benefits of a guided workout routine but while spending time with the people you love (as well as having too much fun to notice all the work you're putting in).