Everyone knows the winter months are a bit more challenging when it comes to staying in shape. First off, there's the food! If the good eats weren't enough, it can be hard to stay motivated once it the temperature outside starts to dip. Check out these daily tips for keeping healthy when it's cold out!
The 12th Day of Fitness: Take Up Yoga
Yoga is one of the best fitness activities during the winter months. It's fun, challenging, and — best of all — indoors. Get a yoga DVD, a mat, a block, and a strap, and you can turn any part of your house into a yoga studio. Better yet, sign up for a hot yoga class to truly escape the cold!
The 11th Day of Fitness: Proper Warm-up
A proper warm-up is crucial for any training, but even more so before cold weather exercise. Before giving your all on any outdoor training, be sure to get your muscles warm and loose. Jumping jacks, light jogging, and extensive pre-workout stretching are all great for avoiding injury.
The 10th Day of Fitness: Waterproof MP3 Players
Waterproof MP3 players aren't just for the pool or the beach: They're also useful for staying motivated in your winter running regimen when it's raining outside. Running in showers isn't the most fun, but with motivational tunes from a rainproof MP3 player, they'll be a bit more bearable.
The 9th Day of Fitness: Keep Your Extremities Warm
When it's cold out, you lose most of your body heat through your extremities. Keeping your hands, feet, and head warm is crucial during outdoor winter fitness. Try to wear warm socks, some gloves or mittens, and a hat to keep your head and ears toasty.
The 8th Day of Fitness: In-season Eats
Most of us end up eating a bit on the less healthy side during winter months. It's so easy with the holidays! However, comfort foods are far from your only option. Winter produce is some of the healthiest food available, any time of year. Some healthy produce options that are most readily available (and best tasting) in the winter: Sweet potatoes, yams, squash, broccoli, kale, and other hearty greens. When in doubt, pay a visit to the nearest farmer's market. Ask questions and learn what's growing locally. Experiment with new produce and recipes.
The 7th Day of Fitness: Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your winter workouts! In many places, winter is the driest time of year. You'll have to work extra hard to stay properly hydrated. Your best bet is to carry a reusable water bottle around with you all day.
The 6th Day of Fitness: Swim Parka
For many swimmers, the worst part of winter training is the time spent traveling between their warm house/car/locker room and the pool. Swimmers in indoor pools have it a little bit easier, but it's tough to brave winter weather with wet hair and flip flops no matter where you're swimming. Everyone in the competitive swim world knows how amazing swim parkas can be on a cold day, but they are often overlooked by recreational/fitness swimmers. With their water-repellent exterior, generous hood, and thick fleece lining, these long coats are designed specifically to help aquatic athletes of all kinds maintain their core temperature on even the chilliest days.
The 5th Day of Fitness: Dress in Layers
Staying warm and active during the colder months of the year can be tricky. At the start of your outdoor training session, you'll likely be cold… but by the time you get going, your body temperature will have risen significantly. Because of this, we recommend that you dress in layers so when your core temperature rises, you can shed a layer. Try to have at least a synthetic layer to wick moisture, then a warmth layer of fleece or wool, and a top layer to provide wind and rain resistance. As you get moving, you can strip the middle layer and still stay protected from the elements.
The 4th Day of Fitness: Sun Protection
Cold temperatures aren't the only thing you need to protect your body against during the winter months. Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean the sun isn't constantly sending down potentially harmful UV rays. Slightly overcast days can actually increase the potential for sun damage by magnifying the sun's rays, and ground with snow cover can reflect the sun back at you. Remember your sunscreen and sunglasses while you stay active outdoors throughout the winter.
The 3rd Day of Fitness: Get Reflective
You should try to train during the daylight hours. However, winter brings shorter days with it, so this might not be an option. If your schedule forces you to train outside at night, wear bright reflective colors so motorists have no trouble seeing you.
The 2nd Day of Fitness: Ice Skating
Outdoor public ice rinks pop up in most major cities — even in those with warmer climates — around the holidays. While at first challenging, ice skating can be a great low-impact workout once you get the hang of it. On top of that, skating is just plain fun, especially around the holidays!
The 1st Day of Fitness: Summer Suit
Here's a quick and easy winter fitness tip: Don't pack away your summer swimsuit. Keep it around and easily accessible. Try it on every week or two to make sure it still fits the way it did in during the warm summer days. If it doesn't fit like you'd hope, ramp up your exercise schedule. Scales can be misleading; your favorite swimsuit never lies.