We’re always going to be advocates for outdoor exercise whenever possible year-round, but there are days when that’s not going to be practical, advisable or desirable.
We’ll face quite a few of those days as our winter unfolds, but that’s no excuse for not meeting or exceeding your fitness goals, whether you’re just trying to get your 150 minutes per week or training for your next mountain bike race.
Here’s how to rev yourself up for indoor exercise.
Setting or reinforcing goals
If you don’t have any concrete fitness objectives, you’ll need to set some!
If you haven’t revisited yours for a while, make sure they still resonate with where you want to be a little further down the road and make adjustments as necessary.
Try something new
The changing season makes this the perfect time to introduce new activities to your active life, especially classes you might not have had time to try during the spring and summer.
Consider those you might have brushed off before like yoga and Zumba, or give something you’ve tried before another chance.
Swimming in the James Family Prescott YMCA’s indoor heated pool can be an especially inviting pastime, bringing back summer memories while you thrive in this brisk, low-impact exercise.
Find the equipment that works for you
If you’re going to be hitting the gym more frequently this winter put some thought and research into which equipment, machines and gadgets you take advantage of.
Choose the elliptical for fast calorie burn and targeting specific leg muscles while circuit training builds muscular strength and endurance efficiently.
Don’t be shy about asking for help with any device you’re not familiar with — it could be the gateway to the best winter fitness you’ve ever had or knock you off that plateau you’ve been stuck on.
Take the time to warm up
This isn’t something you should skip at any time of year, but it’s crucial during the coldest months.
Joints and muscles will become stiffer, and blood flow to your muscles and other bodily systems will be more constricted as your body works to conserve heat within its core. One rule of thumb advises warming up for 10 minutes when temperatures are between 35 and 45 degrees and then add at least five more minutes for every 10 degrees below 35.
Get outside when you can
Evidence that working out in colder temperatures can yield more benefits is piling up.
Your body works harder to stay warm, burning more calories in the process. White fat in your belly and thighs transforms into healthier, quicker-burning brown fat, and the extra vitamin D from the sun wards off seasonal affective disorder.
Be more cautious about guarding against hypothermia once temperatures dip below freezing.