Words: Uma Basso
Photo: Foto Duets
Keeping in shape just seems so much easier when it is warm and sunny outside. But as the winter fast approaches, finding the motivation to stay fit can be challenging if you are faced with colder temperatures and wet weather. Even shorter daylight hours can throw a wrench into your fitness schedule.
While experts suggest exercising five days a week for 30 minutes, that can be tough after a long day on the job site. But the good news is that even five or ten minutes of exercise every day can positively impact your health, weight, and mood.
If the winter weather keeps you from exercising, below are some helpful tips to stay in shape when it’s cold and dark outside.
There is a greater chance of sticking to a healthier lifestyle when you put goals in place. Whether you want to walk up the stairs without losing your breath or drop a few pounds, setting a goal helps you stay focused on the task at hand.
While setting goals is the first step, you should take this process one step further by adding benchmarks. You have a greater chance of accomplishing your goals when you add measurable steps to get there. For example, if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps every day, you may shoot for 3,000 daily steps your first week and then add 500 steps every week after that.
Translating your goals into measurable steps can put you on track for success.
Schedule time to get in shape
We don’t think twice about scheduling and sticking to meetings, phone calls, and site visits. Yet, we usually fit personal tasks into our day whenever we have time. As your day fills up with client calls or job-related duties, you’ll see your personal time quickly evaporate.
By scheduling time in your day to get in shape, you stand a much better chance of following through with your exercise plans. Be sure to pick a time where you are less likely to be burdened with something else. Perhaps it’s early morning before you head out to the jobsite or dedicate a half hour during your lunch break. Just be sure to keep your scheduled commitment.
Bring a friend
Friends and family can be great motivators when establishing an exercise plan. Set a time with your buddy to walk around the neighborhood or sign up for a class together at the gym. Just the thought of knowing that a friend is waiting for you can be enough motivation to keep you going on those days when the last thing in the world you want to do is work out.
Technology can help you schedule, plan, and track your fitness goals. Whether you invest in a watch that tracks your steps or download an app to keep tabs on what you ate for the day, technology can help you stay in shape.
Do what you enjoy
During the warmer months, it’s easy to stay active outdoors. Whether you enjoy biking, hiking, or playing softball in a community league, staying in shape is more convenient when the weather is nice.
Yet cold or rainy weather can limit what you can do outside. If jogging or walking on snowy streets isn’t for you, consider lifting weights at home or running on a treadmill at the gym. Join an online exercise class to stay active. You can even get creative and walk a few laps inside your favorite warehouse store or around the job site while on your lunch break.
If you enjoy being outside when it is cold, plenty of winter activities can keep you in shape. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can get your heart pumping. Shoveling snow or building a snowman can help you stay in shape. Exercising doesn’t have to be an arduous task when you do what you enjoy.
Cold weather poses unique challenges to exercise. Getting hurt can throw a wrench into your plans to get fit. A few ways to stay safe whenever you exercise include.
- Prevent slips and falls – If you exercise outside, be sure to wear durable shoes with good traction. Not only does this help prevent falls on icy surfaces, but the right shoes can also keep you safe on wet locker room floors or slippery walkways.
- Drink water – Whenever you exercise, you should stay hydrated. Drinking water before, during, and after your workout replenishes your body with much-needed nutrients and keeps you from being dehydrated.
- Moderation – Exercising in the cold can bring added stress to your body. It’s helpful to ease into a fitness routine, especially if you are just starting.
Dress for success
The clothes you wear can impact the quality of your exercise. It may be tough to keep going if you are cold, wet, or uncomfortable at the end of your workout. Regardless of the season, supportive shoes and comfortable clothes make a big difference.
If you plan to exercise outdoors, wear clothes designed to keep you warm. Weather-resistant jackets repel water that can seep through when it’s wet and cold outside. Since your head loses heat, be sure to wear a hat. Mittens and gloves are vital to keeping your hands warm. Clothes made of synthetic materials designed to draw sweat away from your body and dry quickly are suitable to wear when you exercise any time of the year.
The bottom line for staying in shape
Regardless of the season, it’s always the right time to get in shape. Exercise improves your stamina and can give you more energy on the job. Plus, it can put you in a better mood during the day.
There are plenty of outdoor activities you can do during colder months to get fit. But if the frigid weather makes you want to do nothing more than stay under the covers, choose indoor activities to help you stay in shape. Whether you join a gym, take an exercise class online, or get your steps in by walking around the mall, you can still find ways to get in shape when it’s cold outside.