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From shorter, darker days to icy sidewalks and face-numbing cold, winter has a way of making us want to curl up under a cozy throw and watch a BBC miniseries instead of braving the chill and getting our frozen hearts pumping. It’s perfectly natural to want to go into full hibernation mode in winter, but in the name of self-care, you know you’ll feel happier and healthier all season long if you make sure to keep your body moving, even if your workouts do slow down a bit when the snow begins to fall. If you’re too darn comfy where you are to get up—or even if you feel bogged down by seasonal depression—consider this your reminder that staying active through the colder months will be worth it for your mental and physical wellness. And with these ideas to winterize your workout, you’ve already got a head start.
Get pumped for seasonal sports.
I have a super fit friend from the northern reaches of Maine who says she stays sane and active all winter by getting excited about winter-specific activities and snowy sports. Here’s what a 150-pound woman can burn in 30 minutes of some favorite winter pastimes:
- Snowshoeing: 238 calories
- Ice skating: 204 calories
- Cross-country skiing: 238 calories
- Chopping wood (or a Christmas tree!): 170 calories
- Shoveling snow: 170 calories
Give your gear a cold weather makeover.
I once spent some time living in Syracuse, New York, one of the snowiest cities in the United States, and I learned a thing or two about cold-weather workouts. In fact, I have a pretty vivid memory of the day I had a 10-mile run on my training calendar but there was a foot of snow on the ground and more coming down. Long story short, I put on two pairs of pants, threw cleats on my shoes, and logged the miles. Honestly, if you’ve got the right gear, you’ll only be cold for the first mile or so. Here’s what I know helps:
- Insulated running pants (I love these from CW-X)
- Running cleats for icy conditions (try these comfy ones)
- Running gloves (with smartphone functionality) are a must
- And for seriously cold runs, cover that neck!
If you’re just not sure how much you should actually bundle up because you’re likely to get hot and sweaty after you get moving, try the “What to Wear” tool from Runner’s World. It will give you advice on what to wear for outdoor running according to weather, wind, and other variables.
Sample your city’s indoor offerings.
If exposing yourself to the elements just isn’t your thing, there’s absolutely no shame in embracing indoor heating. Winter is a perfect time to sample inside workouts like hot yoga, barre, and CrossFit. In fact, many studios offer free or discounted trials for newcomers (especially around the New Year’s resolution season). You can get a good indoor workout without even leaving your toasty nest with fun and challenging home videos like HealthyWay’s Holiday HIIT series.
And if all else fails…
Make friends with the treadmill. I have one in my basement, which is seriously convenient. But even if you do have to drive to the gym to use one, you can bribe yourself into enjoying it (and therefore wanting to keep at it) by catching up on an episode or two of your favorite binge-worthy TV on your phone while you run.