How to stay physically active in the winter

When it comes to exercise, or rather, a lack of exercise, everyone has their own excuse. Whether it be time, or money, or not having a workout buddy, there are so many excuses that people make when it comes to exercising. As the Holly Jolly festive winter season approaches, one more excuse is often added into the exercise excuse cake mix. That would be the cold. And not the coughing kind, but the windy, snowy, weather kind. But if you truly want to become the best version of yourself, you cannot let yourself surrender to any cake mix excuses, including the weather, no matter how depressing. So with that, today, I’m going to be giving you tips and tricks to ensure you find a way to workout in any weather. Let’s get right into it.

FINDING AN ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY

When it comes to physical activity, you need to stop making excuses for yourself. You can easily workout in the comfort of your own home with just a tiny little 4×4 box of space. Stop telling yourself that you don’t have the space to workout at home, or that you need the accountability of going somewhere and getting it done. We both know that’s not helping you. So the first tip I have for you in your quest to workout during the winter months, is to clear some space in your own home, and find a comfortable space (or even a yoga mat) by which you can make your warrior zone. You don’t need a home gym with weights, bars and benches. You simply just need space, and access to a computer. Yes, it’s really that easy.

When it comes to working out at home, there are endless opportunities. So the first step in feeling comfortable and confident in your home, away from the cold and away from any other external pressures, is to discover what type of workout you want to enjoy. To start this quest, all you need to do is go to the internet, visit the great YouTube.com, and type in exactly what kind of workout you want to enjoy. This could range from “yoga for lower back” to “kickboxing no equipment” to “insane brutal HIIT”. Instantly, hundreds of results will come up, where highly-trained, highly cool, fitness trainers will lead you through a workout. All you have to do is follow along to the workout video and workout alongside your new workout buddy – a.k.a. the fitness guru who will give you a reason to sweat. Having some sort of device like a laptop that you can hook up to an HDMI on a bigger screen will be of value to you in this quest, but you’d also be fine following along via your phone or any other kind of device with internet access. This really isn’t rocket science. But it’s science that will make you into the rocket you know you want to be.

One of the best things about YouTube as a workout resource – there are videos for virtually any age, any ability, and any amount of equipment or space available. You really only need access to the internet, and something comfortable like a mat if you don’t already have comfortable flooring. Otherwise, you’re set. And you don’t even need to do sets. I would argue that the best possible workout that you can get on YouTube is what is called a ‘HIIT’ – which stands for high intensity interval training. But you can search for anything from yoga to pilates to kickboxing to cycling (if you have an indoor bike of course). It doesn’t need to be the most intense workout of your life. It’s just about making exercise easier for you during the winter months, and not allowing yourself any excuses. So try different types of workouts and different instructors out, and find what you like.

My favourite YouTube trainer is Heather Robertson. Her videos are great for both men and women, and she has a wide variety of workouts on her channel – from HIIT’s, to kickboxing, to weightlifting, to yoga and pilates. She also has a nice variety of workouts lasting for different lengths of time, allowing you to select the type of workout that works best for you. If you’re feeling in the festive spirit, I’ve linked one of my favourite videos from her below – where she does a whole 12 Days of Christmas workout jam. This, by the way, is an incredibly easy concept that you can adjust, or even create your own version of. Just watch Heather’s video for ideas of some of the best fitness exercises to make into a 12 Days Before Christmas special, and you’ll be getting the Christmas sweats in no time.

Another one of my favourites is Tiff x Dan. When it comes to core and abs, Dan is literally the man. His workouts are easy to follow, and can be challenging for those looking for that extra edge indoors. He also has many workouts with weights if you have your own equipment. But if you don’t have weights, that’s okay. You can still find many videos suited to what you have, or even do one that incorporates weights…without the weights. Might seem radical, but really, stop making excuses for yourself and do the workout that you know you’re going to enjoy, even if you don’t have all the equipment. Pamela Reif is also super easy to follow along with, and her workouts are well suited to all abilities, whether you’re a beginner or someone who’s been working out for years. The magic of these YouTube workouts is that in the moment, you can also always adjust the challenge level. I sometimes skip exercises that I don’t find challenging enough, or that I know hurt my fragile little body. But instead of just fast forwarding, I instead throw myself into a different exercise that I know will get my heart pumping and feel good for me. You can easily do the same, which is a luxury you don’t necessarily have when going to the gym and working with a fitness instructor.

If you’re someone who gets bored working out at home or feels like it’s not challenging enough, first stop making excuses. Second, there are also plenty of videos out there that are what we call ‘no repeats’ – constantly keeping things interesting and doing a myriad of different exercises…not just intervals or sets of the same thing over and over again. These fitness gurus know this, and will often put that ‘no repeat’ signage in the title of their videos, guiding you on your way to exactly what you’re looking for. And if the trainers that I recommended here don’t give you what you’re looking for, don’t give up. Go to the search bar and type in exactly what you’re looking for (e.g. chest workout with no equipment). You will find someone who knows what they’re doing, who can easily give you the sweat sesh you’re looking for.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

If you’re on a time crunch to complete a workout before or after work, exercising at home might be your best bet in the winter season. But if you have a bit more time, consider going out with a friend and participating in a winter activity you’ll both enjoy. Outdoor skating rinks are everywhere in Canada, and many of them are free to use. You could also try more expensive activities like skiing, snowboarding or hockey and embrace the cold!

Swimming pools and indoor rinks often also have free to use services during the winter months, where you can enjoy a swim or skate with friends or alone. Indoor rinks are also great facilities to use during the winter given that they often have public access to indoor tracks, where you can either walk or run indoors without the cold getting in your way. But I strongly suggest you try out different activities and find ones that you find most enjoyable, and most rewarding for your physical health. If something’s not fun and rewarding, you’re not going to do it. Point blank. So explore the vast array of options out there, and discover what you like the best.

WHY STAY ACTIVE IN THE WINTER

Post-Christmas, it’s easy to slump into the winter blues, and fall into a state of depression. Staying fit and active during the winter, can help keep your mind and body happy, helping you avoid those dreaded winter blues. I didn’t fully realize just how much of a positive impact exercise had on my own mood until I started writing more about the positive effects of exercise on mood. Sometimes I wake up feeling guilty for something that happened, or I’ll feel stressed that life isn’t progressing the way I want it to. But after my brief stint of cry-baby-itis, I climb out of bed, run or cycle, and forget about the whole thing. Running is a great time for me to destress, reflect, and forget about the stressors of life. Cycling often gives me a chance to listen to a podcast or watch an episode of television, providing a useful and positive distraction for my brain before work, while simultaneously giving me that elevator lift. So not only am I giving myself self-reflection and self-care time, I’m also reaping the rewards of the heap of health benefits that come along with physical activity. Once you find activities that you enjoy, you’ll start to see these benefits come out too.

And don’t forget that exercise can be social too. It doesn’t have to be alone in your own home doing a HIIT. It can also be with friends going skating, skiing, swimming, whatever! That’s just one more way that exercise can benefit you during the winter months, enhancing your social life in ways you probably so desperately crave. Nobody wants to be alone in the winter, so make active steps to ensure you are being your most social, active, healthy, and best self.


So there it is! How to stay physically active in the winter months. Be sure to check out more of our Health & Fitness articles, and follow on social media via the links below. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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