Most people let their exercise routine falter during the colder months. Today’s guest post by Shelly Stinson describes why we shouldn’t let it go and maybe even give those of us who don’t already have a regular routine a few good reasons to establish one!
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to exercise in the non-winter months? When the air is warm and the sun is shining on your skin, it actually feels good to get out and work up a sweat in the name of better health. However, when the snow falls, it’s just as easy to convince ourselves to stay inside instead.
Even working out at home becomes more difficult because the shorter days can quickly sap your energy. After all, when it’s dark when you go to work and dark again before you can get back home, it makes it extremely tempting to just curl up in a blanket on the couch and fall asleep early as opposed to throwing on your exercise gear and working up a sweat.
While this feeling is certainly understandable, there are quite a few health benefits of establishing a winter exercise routine. Here are three of the most important ones to consider:
#1: You’ll Lower Your Risk of Disease
Perhaps the number-one reason most people work out is to avoid obesity-related diseases and have better health, and this remains true when exercising during the coldest months of the year. Additionally, if you can exercise outside in direct sunlight even though the temperatures are more frigid, you can increase your body’s production of vitamin D. This vitamin is responsible for giving you stronger bones, protecting you from diabetes and cancer, and promoting healthy blood pressure.
(Editor’s Note: read Vitamin D Can Save Your Life!, for even more benefits.)
#2: You Burn More Calories
If you exercise outdoors, doing so when it is colder can help you burn a higher number of calories. Some experts suggest that this is due to your body working harder to regulate your temperature and others feel that it is the greater level of resistance from wearing additional clothing and making your way through the snow. Either way, you win with a smaller waistline and a healthier weight.
#3: You Feel Better Mentally
Another health benefit of establishing a winter exercise routine is that you feel better mentally. In fact, when you take your exercise routine outdoors during the daylight hours in the colder season, you’ll likely notice that you feel less depressed as a result. Something about the fresh, crisp winter air allows you to clear your mind of all your worries, enabling you to focus on issues and resolve them more effectively. (The release of endorphins helps too!) Even walking around the block once or twice can help improve your alertness.
How to Create a Winter Routine You’ll Love
To experience these benefits (and more), here are some ways to create a winter routine you’ll love:
- Aim to workout outside during the daylight hours. If you can’t do this every day (or simply don’t want to), shoot for at least a couple times a week so you promote your body’s production of vitamin D. This also enables you to better see the ground below you, saving you from falling on the snow or ice.
- Grab a friend so you’re not doing it alone. This suggestion is beneficial to your motivational levels because you’ll look forward to working out with a pal, but it is also good from a safety standpoint as well.
- Create a schedule that works for you. This works with various life stages—whether you’re combating the Freshman 15 or aiming to get healthier in your senior years—in addition to seasonal changes. So, come up with a schedule that works for you and you’ll be more inclined to stick with it.
Exercising in the winter is good for you mentally and physically. Now, all you have to do is do it!
About the Author
This article was written by Shelly Stinson, an aspiring health writer. Follow her on twitter at: https://twitter.com/shellystins
Did Shelly miss any benefits to establishing a winter exercise routine? Tell us about it in the comments below.