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HEALTH & WELLNESS / Diet

Tips for staying active in the winter

The couch probably won't give you abs

From SheKnows Canada
If you're tired of working off the winter during the warmer seasons, why not try to stay fit all year-round? Explore new ways of being active in the coldest of seasons.

Woman skiing on snowy mountain

Oh winter, you fiend. Not only is it frigid-cold outside, it gets dark three seconds after sunrise, and it's a season of colossal chocolate consumption. There's also snow on the ground, which impairs any attempt at even trying to keep fit.

OK, only the last statement is not true, sadly. Winter is a little traitorous beast, endlessly trying to break your self-control. But fear not, there are ways to battle it! Instead of getting gloomy, idle and growing sideways this season, why not use this coldness to your advantage? Here are some of our tips for staying in tip-top shape this winter.

1

Get a good start

Sleep. It's easy to get caught up in your schedule or to stay up too late, watching a favourite show whilst downing a bag of chips. Go to bed early instead — sleep in, even! It will give you less time to snack and curb irritability too.

Eat right. Winter is so good for the junk food industry. When you're stricken with cravings, lose your energy or are just suddenly starving, what's your first instinct? To reach for the munchies. W-R-O-N-G. The rules apply through all the seasons: Get your nutrients, and get your vitamins. Stock up on some brown rice and salmon, for example, to stay full. Indulge in berries and green tea to keep energized. Explore those options instead.

Set goals. It's easy to say, "Hey, I'm going to stay fit this winter," but actually going through with it is entirely different. Evaluate your schedule, and set some big goals for the season, like a weight loss target or an achievement to accomplish. To stay motivated, come up with a few easier, smaller targets to reach. They will keep you driven.

2

Embrace the cold

Go for a walk or hike. No need to get fancy with your activities. Bundle up, and take a long walk in the park or around the neighbourhood. If you're feeling adventurous, go on a hike! A lengthy walk will get that blood pumping and those muscles working. Plus, you'll be getting fresh air! Winner, right there.

Play games. If you're not into the minor degree of masochism involved in forcing yourself to work out in sub-zero temperatures, turn it into a game! Bundle up the family, and get outside to build a snow fort, make some snow angels or have a snowball fight. These simple activities, with the aid of your heavy winter gear, will burn calories and work your cardiovascular system while making for a great group or family outing at the same time.

Explore winter sports. Whether or not you're the competitive type, you can do this. Join a team or organize your own, or maybe force the whole family to do it, but get into a winter sport. Try tobogganing, skating (hockey, anyone?) or even skiing. Make it a challenge, make it competitive, or make it a free-for-all, but have fun with it.

3

Keep it indoors

Choose stairs. You work in an office building? Take the stairs. You live on the 15th floor? Guess what, peaches, you're taking the stairs. This simple activity is what a deer is to a bear but for your body. It will get your heart pumping, your legs burning, your blood circulating — and your waistline shrinking. Trust us: Climb 10 flights of stairs a day, and you will see results.

Gym it up. So the great outdoors is not your thang, and working out at home is just not cutting it? That's cool; join a gym, then. Now, just getting a membership still permits a window of laziness, so we suggest you sign up for a few weekly classes. Even better, make it a social activity, and bring your friends — extra motivation. For a cheaper option, organize swimming sessions at the local community centre with your girlfriends or with the entire family.

At-home workouts. This is a no-brainer. It's cold out; stay home. It can be tricky, since your home will always have a convenient distraction, but don't give in. Grab a fitness DVD, and put on your favourite leg warmers. Make it a planned activity (set an alarm!). Invite a girlfriend or two for a private workout session. You don't even need equipment; just plan out exercises using your own body weight. That's all you need!

There you have it!

Winter shall not be your excuse for being a sloth anymore. Try these out, and let us know what worked for you. Feel free to share some tips and your experiences too!

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