As Christmas and New Years come to an end, the magical essence of the fluffy snowflakes gracefully falling and the novelty of snuggling up with a warm cup of tea to keep warm slowly wear off. Even if the temperature just dropped 5 or 10 degrees for you, or 35 – 60 degrees, by the time January and February approaches, the winter months can get hard. The way the seasons affect our mind is real – and many people are affected by long months of colder weather, which happens to affect our motivation levels – weather we notice it or not. You’re sleeping in a little later in your warm snuggly bed and as 8pm approaches, you start winding down – more so than in the summer nights were at 8pm the nights just begin.
This time can become a stagnant time considering the rush of the holidays have now ended, and spring is approaching, but yet still very far away. The new year’s resolutions have faced reality and you may be sticking to them, or realized they are a little harder than you thought – but it’s okay. Taking the approach that it doesn’t matter what time of year you start something new will help you during these times.
And, guess what?? This time of year is perfect time to focus on yourself and your fitness. It’s the most “real” time of year, so to say. Why? Well because it’s a little break between holidays and busy spring time, and things are just picking back up again into their regular routines and we’re all looking forward to the slowly approaching spring time. So, in preparation for these times, it’s important for us to adjust our fitness routines to incorporate routines that we can do at home when we don’t make it to the gym after work on a snowy Monday evening. Or, to try out new methods to stay fit to motivate us during this seemingly stagnant time. So, without further ado, here’s 9 ideas to try out this winter!
Weather your on your mat in your living room, or slip away to a hot yoga studio to beat the cold – Yoga is a wonderful way to keep your blood flowing and your mind zen and clear. Sometimes getting back into the routine of things at work, school, etc. seems a little repetitive and feels a lot like you’re just going through the motions. Yoga gives us the opportunity to reconnect our mind and body and forget about all those little things for the time of our practise. This is exactly why you’ll want to keep going back to your space on your mat again and again. (i.e. It’s not only physical benefits, but mental also!)
2. Snowboarding / Skiing
Weather you’ve tried it before or not, it’s worth it to make the best out of winter by indulging in these winter sports. Even if you don’t live close to a mountain – why not organize a small trip to a location where you can try it out? Breathing in the fresh mountain air will make you not even realizing you’re getting a great workout for your legs and abs!
3. Martial Arts
If you think Martial Arts is just for self defence, think again. It improves your balance, strength, stamina, flexibility, and posture. In addition to this it helps your confidence. If you’re ready to make a change, this sport will definitely help you in more than just physical aspects!
The benefits of HIIT are endless, as we’ve explained in multiple blog posts that training this way allows you to burn calories at a rapid pace. When this happens, you are speeding up your metabolism, which helps you burn fat faster. If you’re hitting the gym again after the holidays, you’ll want to get the maximum amount of “bang for your buck” in the form of exercise – and this one takes home the prize in that aspect. Plus, if you don’t want to venture out in the cold during the depth of winter, you can easily perform this in your home with some resistance bands and your bodyweight.
5. Cross-country Skiing
If you’ve never tried cross-country skiing, you’re in for a surprise! Considering your skis are only attached at your toes, you use power from your legs and your core to stay balanced. You use poles to propel you through the trail, thus adding more training for your abs. In addition to this, the muscle chain activated when you’re moving is confined to one area, since the tails are two wells in the snow for your skis, you cannot “cheat” by moving to the side and making the workout less intense. Plus, the cardio is killer! For the fitness fanatics, it’s a must try.
You can also simulate this with a NoricTrack type of exercise equipment
As the beaches turn to ice and the sand turns to snow, we tend to always forget that swimming exists. But, did you know that swimming actually reduces stress? This is because typically, people feel good in the water. Just like in a spa or a hot shower, it relaxes your muscles and provides you a sense of security. Even if you just go to the public pool after work for a session of 30 minutes of shredding water, you’ll arrive at your home refreshed and stress-free. Plus, floating around in a pool is the best physcological way to go on vacation (who says you can’t pretend those diving boards are palm trees??)
Okay, so we can’t really say meditation strengthens your muscles or rises your endurance. But, it will most definitely help you perform significantly better during your workouts. Why? Because arriving at a meditational state requires a strong mindset. You need the ability to be in tune with your thoughts, and basically shut them off. You need to be able to be at one with your mind and body to achieve this state. Practising meditation will help you focus during your other workout routines. Working on your focus during your workout routines will put you in full force and ready to take on your summer workouts when the summer hits. Talk about preparation!
8. Nature Walks
Did you know that working out in cold air actually increases the intensity of your workout? It’s because your body is spending more energy to keep you warm, in addition to performing the exercise you’re doing. So, combining this with a beautiful snow-covered trail will instantly boost your mood, and help you burn a little more calories than the typical speed walk at a gym.
Since the holidays are over and the winter seems to be dragging on and on, it’s important to do activities that make you feel alive! There’s no doubt that dancing breaks a sweat, in addition to allowing freedom of self expression. Since we tend to be confined indoors in the winter time, we can feel a little restless. Weather it’s dancing to your favourite beats in your living room, or actively going to classes and socials to perfect a new dance – it’s sure to beat the restlessness gloomy winter days create.
To sum it up – working out in the winter can be hard enough, so why make it even harder?
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