Even in the best circumstances, winter workouts to stay fit year round can be a challenge. Shorter days and colder temperatures make outdoor exercise less tempting and in some harsher climates downright impossible. Add in COVID based restrictions on indoor exercise options and the challenges are even greater.
To maintain and even improve your fitness levels this wintertime will require grit, creativity and commitment. Remind yourself often that your health is your greatest resource and then do whatever it takes to stay active and fit, no matter what old man winter and current guidelines throw your way. To help you out along the way we have compiled some of the best tips and tools for your winter workout.
Reframe problems as an opportunities
There are a lot of things you can’t do because of winter and Covid restrictions, but what are all the things you can do? Get proactive about all the options you may not have considered and try something new. Some safer activities you may not have considered include outdoor winter sports like cross country skiing or snowshoeing, outdoor exercise classes or streaming live workout videos in your home. What about a Zoom call with a friend while you walk on your treadmill? Make a list of 5 things you want to try this winter and then get going!
Know the risks
Knowing the risk level of whatever exercise option you choose can help you make confident, safer choices. Exercising at home or outdoors are the safest activities in terms of COVID risk. Lower intensity indoor exercise—such as pilates or moderate strength training—increase risks somewhat (also depending on the safety precautions the fitness facility is taking). High intensity indoor exercise in close proximity to others is the most risky activity. Anything that increases closeness to others and respiration while reducing airflow is going to increase the risk of the virus being spread. As always, If you are in a high risk group home or outdoor exercise is your safest option.
Practice perfect timing
During the winter months exercising during the warmest part of the day can make the experience much more enjoyable as well as safer, since there is less likely to be ice on the ground. When considering your outdoor activities check out your weekly forecast and plan accordingly. Though it depends on the climate you live in early afternoons are often the warmest part of the day, making them ideal for getting some outdoor exercise in. Wearing easy to remove, breathable layers can also make outdoor winter exercise more inviting.
Clear the clutter
Taking the time to create a dedicated space for workouts can make your home based winter workouts much more enjoyable and effective.Clear out as much clutter and distractions as possible, clean and ventilate the space for easy breathing and then bring in the fitness equipment you like to use. You will find that it’s much easier to focus on your workouts when you have created an organized, inviting space for yourself. Investing this extra time and energy will repay you handsomely with many enjoyable and invigorating workouts to come.
Find uplifting music or videos
If you use an indoor cardio machine, finding the right music or videos to use while you exercise can make the difference between a great workout or more dust collecting on your treadmill. If possible avoid programs that can increase your stress such as the news. Choose relaxing or inspiring content like nature programs, upbeat music you enjoy, sports or cooking shows instead.
Consider online or social distanced training
If you are not sure what home workout is going to most benefit you, you might consider putting some of the money you have saved on monthly gym membership toward hiring a qualified and experienced trainer. A trainer can evaluate your fitness level, help design an appropriate program and recommend home fitness equipment that will work best for you. More trainers than ever are offering online options, which means they can help give your feedback and encouragement in real time. Socially distanced 1-on-1 indoor training is also a low risk option that could work for you.