Even the most die-hard fan of winter weather has to admit that, sometimes, the season can be a little bit extra.
There are days when the cold, blustery weather makes it hard to go outside to commute to work, let alone find the time to exercise outdoors.
Even the biggest fitness fanatic can sometimes have trouble finding ways to stay active in the winter months. When there’s ice on the ground and snow in the air, going to the gym can feel like an enormous chore.
For many others, go-to outdoor exercise activities—such as biking, running, or swimming—are off the table due to winter conditions, which can actually put your health at serious risk. As a CBS News report says:
“Icy weather can exacerbate asthma and kick up sinus issues; windburn can damage skin; hands and feet are especially vulnerable to frostbite; and as hard as it may be to believe when your teeth are chattering in a ski lift queue, even the sun can be a nemesis to winter fitness fans.”
When the wind hurts your face, the six inches of snow on the ground make running impossible, and a cup of hot cocoa is singing like a siren from the kitchen . . . what’s a person to do? Hibernate?
Fortunately, you don’t need to make like a bear just yet! If you have a few feet of open space inside your home, you can stay active and care for yourself, all winter long. Here are some expert-approved activities for getting in a sweat—even when the temperature is below freezing:
There are countless physical and mental benefits to yoga, many of which you might not even expect. For instance, did you know that yoga has been shown to help individuals manage stress, sharpen their concentration, and promote feelings of calmness? That it may help alleviate the symptoms of a hangover, or even help you sleep better?
But all of those are just the icing on the cake. According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga also offers plenty of other physical benefits, including:
- Increased flexibility
- Increased muscle strength
- Improved muscle tone
- Weight reduction
- Improved cardio and circulatory health
Why not give it a try? The best part is, you don’t need much to get started with yoga besides a few clear feet of floor space! There are plenty of tutorials and guides available online, perfect for people of all experience levels and fitness backgrounds. Or, if you are willing to brave the cold, sign up for a class to get started under the watchful eye of an instructor. Many yoga studios offer complimentary trial periods, and this can be a great way to make sure that you’re getting the movements right.
Jumping rope isn’t just for kids anymore!
In fact, it’s one of the most effective exercises that adults can do. As Peter Schulman, MD, an associate professor of Cardiology/Pulmonary Medicine, tells WebMD: “It’s certainly good for the heart . . . It strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time.”
And while Dr. Schulman notes that jumping rope does put some stress on your knees, ankles, and hips, he also notes that “if done properly, it’s a lower-impact activity than jogging.”
Jumping rope also may burn more calories than jogging. As blogger Michelle Hogan points out over at Lifehack, “ten minutes of jumping rope can roughly be considered the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile.”
Even better? All you need to get started is a jump rope, many of which sell for less than $20. Once you’ve got a rope, you can take it just about anywhere in the world for a quick, powerful workout as long as you’ve got a few square feet of floor space and some overhead clearance. Plus you’ll get to feel like Rocky Balboa or Apollo Creed when you do it . . . and who wouldn’t want that?
Weight training isn’t just about getting “shredded,” “ripped,” “swole,” or any other buzzword that might be flying around your local gym.
- Improve bone density
- Improve the strength of your muscles, joints, and tendons
- Reduce your risk of developing diabetes or other chronic health problems
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Improve balance
- Increase flexibility and range of motion
To get started with weight training, or to keep up a regimen when you can’t make it to the gym, you may even be able to find some success doing a “bodyweight” workout. This is a type of exercise that you can conduct with little more than your own body mass—meaning that you won’t have to shell out for expensive weight sets or other equipment.
Nerd Fitness offers a great guide to getting started with strength training, using bodyweight, bands, or free weights, available here.
And now, the Enrollment Specialists would like to know: How do you stay fit in the wintertime? Feel free to send us a message, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter, to let us know your favorite fitness tips and tricks!
And remember that the winter months are a prime time for illness. To make sure that you and yours have the greatest coverage possible, at the lowest cost, we’re here to help. Drop us a line with any health or life insurance questions today! Your health insurance superhero and personal consultant, Matt Peebles, would be happy to save the day!
With Matt in your corner, you’ll always be able to say “I Got A Guy!” no matter how frightful the weather outside may get.