Winter Workouts: How to Stay Fit and Healthy this Winter
Winter weather provides an excuse for some people to become lax in their exercise programs. It’s difficult to jog, bike or even walk on icy or snow-covered sidewalks. In addition, the pleasure of being outside may decrease right along with the temperature. However, there are many ways to continue your exercise regimen even though those methods may differ from your warm-weather activities.
Aerobic exercises provide many health benefits, and you can participate in those activities either inside or outside. A few rewards of aerobic exercise are:
1. Weight loss
2. Increased oxygen in blood and muscles
4.Increased blood flow to muscles and lungs
5. Better elimination of waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide from muscles
6. Increased stamina
7.Improved immune system
8. Lower blood pressure and controlled blood sugar
9. Stronger heart
10.Lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol
11. Enhanced sense of well-being
Shoveling snow is an excellent way to get a good workout and a clear sidewalk at the same time. It provides a cardiovascular workout and gets the abdominal, arm and back muscles working.
Use stairs instead of elevators when possible. Take a mid-afternoon break from your desk and get the blood flowing by taking on a few flights of stairs. Jog as you go up the stairs and walk when going down to reduce joint impact.
Push-ups and Sit-ups
You can do push-ups and sit-ups just about anywhere, and you don’t need any special equipment to benefit from those exercises. Pushups benefit your entire core along with chest, biceps and triceps muscle groups. Make sure to vary your sit-up routine to work different abdominal muscles. Include side sit-ups, leg lifts and planks to round out your routine.
Workout DVDs can provide the motivation you need to exercise, and you do not have to get out in the cold. Yoga, pilates, cardio dance and aerobics workout tapes are all beneficial workouts that don’t require equipment. Consider renting some from the library so when you get tired of one routine (or it becomes too easy) you can exchange it for another disc.
Skating is another form of great aerobic exercise with the same benefits provided by other aerobic activities. It also provides an excellent interior and exterior thigh workout and improves balance. Plus, it’s a great family winter activity.
Let the snow fly outside while you enjoy swimming in your own exercise pool. Set the temperature in the exercise pool according to your taste, usually between 94 and 96 degrees. Swimming is a fantastic full body workout; you’ll be able to cover all major muscle groups in one sitting. The inherent buoyancy of water supports your joints so they can move freely, and your exercise will be more effective because water provides resistance in every direction, not only against gravity.
Skiing and Snowboarding
You will have so much fun skiing and snowboarding that you won’t mind being outside, and you will use all your major muscle groups as you glide on the snow. While both are primarily leg workouts, both also improve balance and core strength.
Snowshoeing offers an intense workout even though it looks easy to do. You will burn calories and work the muscles in your arms, thighs and buttocks. Snowshoeing gives you the cardiovascular benefits of running or walking without the risk of slipping on ice or snow. In addition, it’s a fun way to explore trails during the winter months.
If exercise is difficult or painful for you because of an injury or illness, try aquatic therapy. Exercising in water decreases the pull of gravity on your body and makes your workout more comfortable. Water provides support for your body, reduces stress on your joints and supplies the resistance you need to make your exercising more effective.
Aquatic therapy typically takes place in heated pools, and the warmth helps your muscles to relax so your joints can experience a wider range of motion. The hydrostatic pressure of the water helps your body circulate blood from your legs to your heart, which may decrease swelling in your feet and ankles and serve to increase your range of motion as well.
There is no need to be concerned about the weather; it is not necessary to give up exercising in the winter if you just use a little creativity and a lot of willpower.
This is a guest post written by Brandon Serna on behalf of HydroWorx