During the winter it can be difficult to find ways to stay active. However, putting exercise on hold during these months can cause you to lose muscle strength. You might also have a harder time getting back into shape by the time spring rolls around. To prevent this, it’s important to know the best ways to stay active during the winter as well as the best things to eat to help you preserve your strength.
Gyms and health clubs offer the perfect solution to staying active during winter. Not only will you have access to useful equipment, but some locations may also offer indoor recreational centers and swimming pools. This means you can take advantage of a variety of activities to help break up the monotony and give you more reasons to stick with your routine.
When it comes to choosing indoor sports activities, one of the best to play during the winter is tennis. Able to burn up to 169 calories for women and 208 calories for men in a 30-minute session, tennis can help keep you fit and flexible all season long. In addition to keeping your body engaged, tennis can also help keep your mind engaged as it forces you to stay alert throughout the game. Other benefits of indoor tennis can include:
- Muscle Development: Muscles can begin to weaken after just three weeks of inactivity. Tennis forces you to use your whole body while playing, making sure that your legs, arms, and core, get a healthy effective workout.
- Heart Health: Tennis also serves as a great way to benefit cardiovascular health. Because it increased heart rate for an extended time, it can help strengthen your heart and mitigate the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Improving Coordination: Tennis can also boost hand-eye coordination by requiring you to be able to accurately hit the ball.
If sports aren’t for you or if you want to break up your tennis matches with other activities, signing up for group exercise classes like CrossFit, spinning, boxing, or aerobics, can help keep you active and allow you to socialize with classmates. Many gyms and health clubs offer various activities every month so you can feel free to try out different classes every couple of weeks. During winter its easy to fall into monotony and get bored with your lack of choices, branching out and trying new indoor activities helps prevent this and keep you engaged.
The colder weather doesn’t have to prevent you from being active outdoors. With the right gear, you can take advantage of activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, skiing, and ice skating, if your location allows it. However, when taking part in outdoor winter activities it’s important to dress appropriately, stay warm, and stay hydrated.
- The Proper Gear: The best way to dress for winter activities is by layering your outfits to ensure you can stay warm and dry. Your bottom-most layer should be moisture-wicking, to allow for sweat to evaporate without soaking your underclothes. The top layer should be both water and wind-resistant, with additional insulation underneath. It’s not advised to wear cotton, as once it becomes wet it’s unlikely to dry.
- Staying Hydrated: Hydration is just as important during the winter as in the summer. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your exercise. You may also wish to carry a thermos of hot tea for additional warmth.
- Winding Down: After an exercise outdoors, it may be tempting to come home and change clothes; however, unless you’re wet you should wait at least 10 minutes before changing your clothes. This is because body heat can be lost too quickly and you may experience post-exercise hypothermia if you’re not careful. In this case, it’s best to sit and rest awhile before changing into other clothes.
Exercising outdoors is possible during winter. As long as you take care to invest in the right clothing and gear, you should have no trouble heading out for a jog or walk around your neighborhood.
Exercise is only effective when coupled with a healthy diet. During the winter, your diet can change to accommodate the season and ensure that you get the vitamins and nutrients that you need to stay healthy and energized.
- Oatmeal Oatmeal is a hearty breakfast food that is both easy to make and healthy for winter. Packed with zinc and fiber, important for immune function and heart health respectively, oatmeal can give you the energy needed to get up and go in the morning. Oatmeal can also be customized with different fruits to give you an extra boost of flavor.
- Root Veggies Local produce can be scarce when winter comes around; however, root vegetables like turnips, carrots, and beets can hold up in cold climates. Stocking up on these locally grown veggies can give you an extra boost of beta-carotene and vitamins A and C.
- Soups Speaking of root veggies, vegetable soup is a great way to create a healthy and delicious dinner for the whole family. Cook Brussels sprouts, carrots, peas, onion, and any other vegetables you choose in chicken stock to create a simple but hearty soup that is perfect for winter.
- Salmon During the winter, vitamin D is harder to come by due to limited sun exposure. To counter this and prevent a vitamin D deficiency, add fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel to your menu. Fatty fish like this offer the perfect way to increase vitamin D intake while also offering a tasty dinner option.
- Broccoli Both broccoli and cauliflower can help protect you from nasty winter colds and sicknesses. High in vitamin C, these vegetables can help boost your immune system and give you something to snack on after a workout. (You can even add them to your soup.)
Staying active during the winter doesn’t have to be difficult. By taking advantage of gyms and health clubs, you can stay active by playing indoor sports or taking fitness classes. Likewise, with the right equipment, you can even take a jog around town or a hike at your nearest nature preserve.
Additionally, remember to invest in some hearty winter foods that can help give you energy and boost your immune system. Foods rich in zinc, fiber, and vitamins C and D can help give you the boost you need to stay healthy and active this winter.