In America, we already have issues with meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that only 23% of adults are getting enough exercise. The outlook for fitness levels often worsens in winter, too. Between the cold temperatures, the inclement weather, and the comforting foods available in our cozy homes, it’s no wonder we don’t want to venture outside to work out. Gallup data reveals that even Americans who exercise frequently in the spring and summer tend to significantly decrease their physical activity during the fall and winter.
That’s a problem because taking an extended break from physical activity has major health consequences. Research shows that taking a hiatus from exercise can make you gain weight that you struggle to lose and even reduce your heart and lung health by 20% within just a month or two of skipping your workout routine. Plus, you’re more likely to experience anxiety, depression, low energy levels, and sleep issues.
You can’t afford to take a break from exercise, but what should you do if you’re feeling bored with your routine or can’t take part in the activities you normally would when the weather’s nice? Here are just a few activities that can get you moving this winter.
Create Your Own Home Gym: If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the trek to the gym, you can always make the gym come to you! In 2013, 25.51 million people over the age of six participated in home gym exercise. Not only is having gym equipment at home more convenient, but the costs over time tend to be less, too. Statistics show that gym dropout rates within the first eight months of membership could be upwards of 80%, but the digital age has provided countless ways to get fit without paying a monthly fee to a gym you never use. Armed with a fitness tracker, some online videos, and a few pieces of gym equipment, you can work up a sweat without ever leaving the house.
Race Around the Rink: Alternatively, some people may want to get outdoors and avoid feeling cooped up. As long as the weather isn’t too cold, getting fit outside in the winter can be a great option (particularly for families). Ice hockey and ice skating can both be fantastic activities that will help you get in a great workout and bond with your loved ones. Approximately 10 million Americans over the age of six participated in ice skating during 2017. Whether you go to a local outdoor rink or create your own in the backyard, sharpening your skates and getting out on the ice will be a fun way to get fit.
Spend Some Time in the Snow: There are plenty of ways to work out when the ground is covered in snow. Cross-country or downhill skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, or even making a snowman or snow fort can offer some excellent opportunities for fitness. Having a snowball fight or making snow angels will prove to be a good workout, too. In fact, playing in the snow for an hour can allow you to burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories. Just because it’s pure fun doesn’t mean it’s not good for you. Of course, shoveling the walkway can amp up your physical activity, too -- especially if the whole family pitches in.
No matter what kinds of activities you enjoy most, there’s really no reason to stop exercising during this season. Actually, there are a lot of good reasons to keep going. With any luck, these ideas will inspire you to get moving all winter long.