There’s a lot to love about the holiday season: get-togethers with the family, tasty feasts, giving and receiving awesome gifts, and, if we’re lucky, maybe even a little snow. But the downside to all these festivities is that sometimes it’s a little too tempting to kick back on the couch and watch Netflix under a warm blanket instead of braving the freezing temperatures to get in that workout we keep promising ourselves.
During the holidays, it’s easy to think that those visions of juicy turkey legs and sweet chocolate chip cookies dancing in our heads are the only wellness landmines to look out for. But physical activity is just as important as nutrition when the temperature drops.
Sure, missing a few workouts here and there isn’t a big deal. But short breaks can turn into prolonged ones before you realize it. And then, before you know it, New Year’s is here and you’re left wondering where all the extra pounds came from.
In order to keep your wellness goals on track during the cold months ahead, you’ll need to brave winter’s bite and learn how to adapt to weather changes. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Grab Some Gear
There are a number of great products out there that can help you stay warm while you work out during the winter months. At the minimum, you’ll need some sort of moisture-wicking base layer, and something to keep your hands, feet, ears, and head warm. Bundling up in warm layers is the key. Not only will this gear keep you warm during your outdoor workouts, but the money spent will also motivate you to stay active.
Cold weather can mean tighter, less flexible muscles and added joint pain if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s even more important than usual to make sure you stretch out and warm up properly before you hit the slopes, ice, or snow. Just remember, the colder it is outside, the longer and more thorough your warmup needs to be.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
When it’s hot outside, we typically don’t need too much persuading to chug some ice-cold water after a workout. But it’s easy to overlook all that when we aren’t overheated or drenched in sweat. Just keep that in mind as you work out, and be sure to stay hydrated.
Play in the Snow
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade; when it gives you snow, you build a snowman. Or better yet, start a neighborhood snowball fight. I mean, how can you have snow without a proper snowball fight after all? You can’t! It’s not necessarily an intense workout, but it’s a great way to get outside and get in some quick physical activity, especially if you have children.
Go Ice Skating
Whether you’ve never laced up the skates before or you’re a seasoned pro, breaking out the blades can be just what you need to stay active during the winter. No snow or ice outside to play in? Many cities have indoor skating rinks for you to enjoy. In addition to helping you tone up muscle groups that you may not typically focus on, ice skating can also improve your balance and coordination.
Try Something New
Just because you can’t go swimming at the lake doesn’t mean there aren’t any fun activities to enjoy during the winter. If you’re feeling up to the challenge and live in an area that allows it, you can always try snowboarding, skiing, sledding, or my favorite, hockey. Who knows, you might even make some new friends while you’re at it.
During the cold winter months, many of us go into hibernation mode and our activity levels drop off significantly. But we shouldn’t turn a cold shoulder on our wellness goals just because the temperature drops. By sticking to the tips outlined here, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining your forward momentum and putting yourself in a better position to hit your wellness goals when the warm weather returns.