Winter can be a nightmare for anyone looking to either leave that muffin top/sweater combo in the past or keep that horrific Christmas weight from tearing your new year’s resolution to shreds. Although we all would love to pretend we love our bodies just the way they are, body shaming, especially through social media, can get anyone down. And the winter season can really put a damper on your motivation to feel more self-empowered and healthy.
Let’s face it, this generation is the generation of quick tips, tricks, and loopholes for weight loss and yet, every year, the ‘winter season peer pressure’ winds up throwing away all that hard work and giving the scale something to talk about.
On top of the massive feasts your families call ‘bonding’ and the alcohol consumption you probably like to call ‘bonding’ too, many of you also wind up facing the stress that comes with blizzards forcing you to stay inside and getting to the gym being a life and death situation putting your car and ice in a real-deal ‘battle royale’.
However, we all know how important staying in shape can be despite seasonal setback and the excessive eating and drinking (although it rocks) can definitely start your year off on a very bad foot. With the obesity rate in America skyrocketing to unsettling levels, exercise can be a very crucial part of your everyday life and prevent serious yet common diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, GERD, Osteoarthritis, and more.
Although it may seem like everything is standing in your way, there are still plenty of ways to stay fit and make a difference in your life during these arduous winter months and, by spring, you may find yourself with the summer body you always dreamed of months in advance. These six ways may seem a little out of the ordinary at first but they are guaranteed to keep you motivated and energized even with all the candy canes and sugar plums dancing ‘round in your heads.
Snowshoeing is a wonderful way to test your body’s all-around strength whilst still taking in all of the beauty that the winter season has to offer. Trying it out with a group can be a wonderful way to make new friends and experience some group exercise without freezing to death in the process.
However, it is always best to find a route you know you can accomplish, learn the basics of snowshoeing beforehand, and locate a snowshoeing group that is close to your location and willing to have new people. In the end, you may find yourself enjoying a hot springs or two and taking in the serenity that is the winter season alongside some like-minded new friends.
Although ice skating may often be thought of as a winter pastime or something exciting to do at the mall in December before hitting up the Cinnabon (it isn’t cheating if it’s a tradition, right?), it can also be a wonderful way to keep your legs in shape and work out your thighs in order to prepare for mountain biking, running, or even hiking during the summer time.
Many bicyclists choose this technique to stay fit during the wintertime because it focuses on coordination as well as basic leg muscle building (two things that are often forgotten in the gym environment). There are all kinds of fun spots to skate, but getting the gear is very important if you want to reduce your yearly admission costs in the long run. Once you have the right pair of skates, they can last you for years and be a wonderful alternative to an exercise bike or treadmill.
Okay, so maybe this one is mostly based off of my love for the Ip-Man movies but why not take up a new physical activity that sharpens your body and your mind? Wing Chun is a form of martial arts that focuses on patience, strength, dedication, and internal peace. Bruce Lee and many other famous martial artists were originally taught in the ways of Wing Chun due to its immense principles of honor and rich ties to Chinese history.
Either way, there are hundreds of Wing Chun classes in every state and they will help you focus your strength internally as well as externally for a more ‘motivated you’. Not to mention, the awesome skills you’ll get to show off to your friends at Coachella next year (kidding)!
Dancing is a wonderful indoor activity that can build your cardio and coordination in any season; however, winter dancing classes are a wonderful way to hit the gym without feeling bored and yet still getting a workout in that you would do outside if only you could. Zumba, in particular, has been a huge hit for several years now in the gym world due to its fast-paced style, loud and welcoming music, and theme of turning enthusiasm into exercise.
Many runners choose to take up Zumba or dancing during the winter season due to its emphasis on coordination and intensity. However, if you may be nervous to jump right in, taking some online Zumba classes or learning some of the basics may help you feel more at home before you feel comfortable and can cha-cha yourself directly into the real thing.
Sledding or tubing, despite seeming more like something your annoying nephew or crazy neighbor chooses to do during the winter, can actually be a wonderful way to build your strength and stamina even in the ‘snowiest’ of conditions. All of the lugging around the sled or tube, walking up the massive hill of your choice, and holding on with all your might can actually lead to a great day full of leg, arm, and stomach workouts.
Of course, choosing the right sled or tube ahead of time can definitely make the event much more fun and get the kids or even yourself more involved. After all, who isn’t up for a little friendly competition now and again? Either way, this is a great way to get the whole family involved while not feeling guilty for missing the gym that day. The key is to get out there, find a great spot, and try not to grease it up too much or you may be in for one heck of a walk home!
Okay, so for Christmas I may have gotten a VR and that may also have completely changed my perception of indoor fitness, but who’s really to say? I also may have gotten it originally for someone else and pretty much commandeered the thing but there were no witnesses, so let’s just say it was mine the whole time, shall we? Either way, indoor fitness is a wonderful way to still get in that awesome workout without dealing with the winter tundra outside.
There are literally thousands of ways to go about virtual indoor sports ranging from interactive exercise bike software and dance programs all the way to golf simulators and fun group games on your gaming console. Whatever way you choose to get your indoor workout in is completely up to you, can change daily, and can really help you stay fit without wasting gas, money, or time.
Despite all of the chaos that comes with exercise during the winter season, there are plenty of ways to lose that extra poundage and keep it off for good. If you simply try out these six ways and incorporate your own workout plans, you may find yourself feeling energized, fitting into that dress, and blowing your other winter-fearing fitness friends out of the water–or snow, for that matter– this winter season.
Author Bio: Brooke Faulkner is a mom and fitness junkie from Portland, Oregon. She dreams of one day owning a treadmill desk.