How to Get Your Workout in When the Weather Outside Is Frightful

For most of us, the winter months present a tough time to work out—whether we’re trying to shed a few pounds or not. Even if you belong to a local gym, getting to and from your exercise sessions can sometimes be difficult due to rain, snow, sleet—you name it. But having this challenge should not deter any of us from actually moving our bodies, which is as important as a nutritious diet, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.

Luckily, there are lots of unique options that we can take advantage of during this inclement time of year. It’s all about being clever and thinking outside the box. And since changing out our workouts surprises our bodies and is beneficial to our metabolisms, winter is the perfect excuse to change it up while stepping it up. Here are a few ideas you can run (or power walk) with:

Shop Till You Drop (Sort Of)

Turns out your local shopping mall isn’t just for running up credit card totals. These days, many malls offer “Walker’s Hours,” which usually occur even before stores open. In cases like this, people can use different levels of the mall the same way they would a track at a local high school. Only since most malls are indoors, you get all the benefits of walking without the chill (factor). Mall walking has been a fitness secret of senior citizens for years—but can actually be taken advantage of by all ages.

(To find out if your local mall or shopping center offers Mall Walking, call the property’s management office for more information.)

The normal rules for effective walking apply, of course: Suck in those tummies, pump those arms for heart health, and maintain proper posture (even when passing the food court).

 

Try adding a mental workout to your mall routine by identifying certain items of a certain color in store windows (clothes, toys, shoes—your choice), then try to re-identify them as you pass them by during a future lap. This way you’re working your brain while working your brawn.

Home Sweet Home

Too often we bemoan the fact that the remote control isn’t next to us or that we left our checkbook upstairs. Instead, celebrate this and use the occasion to get your body moving. Many of us remain in sedentary positions for hours at a time. Even breaking up this time with five- to 10-minute intervals of movement every hour can be beneficial in so many ways.

Braving the Great Outdoors

If you insist on weathering all that Mother Nature has to offer this winter, make sure you approach your workout wisely. Along with outfitting yourself in the best cold weather workout gear, also include a home warm-up routine before heading out into the chilly temperatures.

Fluid Motion

Despite the colder temps, exercisers still tend to sweat as much in the winter as they do in the summer.

This means it’s important to stay hydrated before, during, and after cold weather workouts. 

 

By Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN, Health and Nutrition Expert for NBC’s Today Show and founder of Nourish Snacks. Joy’s latest book is From Junk Food to Joy Food.

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