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Staying active in the winter

How to Stay Active in the Winter

Nov 29, 2022

In theory, gym-goers are not supposed to be affected by the seasonal change that much. After all, their favorite physical activity takes place indoors. Still, the number of people who are active drops considerably over the winter months? Why is this the case and if so, how do you stay active in the winter?

The truth is that there are several reasons why people get inactive during the colder part of the year.

  • The first one is psychological – bad weather affects people’s mood and makes them reluctant to leave their homes.
  • When wearing layers and layers of clothing, they feel less incentivized to work out.
  • A lot of people find outdoor activities to be their favorite part of their fitness routine. This is much more difficult in the winter.

With all of this in mind and without further ado, here are a couple of tips to help you get around it.

Importance of Staying Active in the Winter 

Exercising in winter is not only necessary, but it also offers you a number of additional benefits that you shouldn’t ignore. For instance, in cold temperatures, you will have more endurance. Your heart doesn’t work as hard, you’re not sweating as much, and you’re not wasting as much energy while stationary. This means that if you’re pursuing higher athletic results and plan to push yourself harder (in the gym), you are still free to do so (you may get more out of your workout).

Second, working out at a cold temperature helps you burn fat a lot faster. Your own metabolism is burning fat in order to stay warm and if you double the efforts by working out, the results will be quite staggering. This means that just figuring out how to stay active in the winter might help you burn more fat than if you were to follow the same regimen during the warmer part of the year.

Another key importance of staying active in the winter lies in your mental health. During the winter days, people are exposed to less total sunlight, which gives pretty poor results when it comes to developing the seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Spending just 20 minutes per day outdoors or doing 60 minutes of exercise can help this. 

Many put off working out in the winter due to injury. It’s important to be proactive and to resolve any issues that could impair you from an active lifestyle. As always, consider finding an orthopedic doctor near you.

Outdoor Winter Workout

One thing that the majority of people see as an obstacle is the idea that they cannot do an outdoor workout during winter. This is simply not true. A lot of people out there don’t even change their regimen during the winter. They never ask how to stay active in the winter, instead, they just add layers of clothing and carry on with their daily running sessions.

When it comes to others, they find a winter alternative to their favorite outdoor sports. For starters, winter sports like snowshoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, ice-skating, and hockey are incredibly physically demanding. They boost your stamina, work your whole body, and make you burn fat.

Just keep in mind one thing – working outside is potentially hazardous. There are a lot of slippery surfaces (due to frost), you might get exposed to frostbite, and the risk of catching a cold is significantly higher. This is why, regardless of your fitness goals or intentions, staying safe during cold-weather exercise is a priority.

Alternative Winter Workout Ideas

Then, when it comes to just staying active, sometimes just walking your dog can help you burn up to 470 calories per day. Of course, those who are a bit more adventurous can try their hand at hiking. It also helps you enjoy the outdoors far more and take full advantage of various winter wonders.

In fact, there are so many things you can do to stay active this winter. You can take nature walks, find a Zoom or Instagram workout in order to get in shape while staying at home, etc.

It’s also worth mentioning that, even in winter, there are a lot of warmer-than-average days. You can just track the forecast and plan to use the warmer days to the fullest. By combining this with your indoor efforts, you’ll be well on your way to staying in shape.

How to Stay Motivated in the Winter in Order to Stay Active

Let’s be completely honest and agree that the matter of staying active during winter isn’t necessarily one of logistics but one of motivation and mindset. There are a couple of things that you can do in order to make it all easier.

First, you need to find something you actually like doing. Forcing yourself to do an exercise that you see as a chore is harder during winter. Find a physical activity that you’re passionate about instead.
Equip your home gym. A lot of the time, it’s not the workout that’s the problem but commuting to the gym that is the problem. You can easily (and inexpensively) solve this by getting just a couple of things for your garage.
Find a workout buddy. You’re not the only one who finds it difficult to work out during winter. Find someone in the same predicament and you’ve found yourself a workout buddy.
Buy new equipment. For a lot of people, investing in workout equipment and apparel is an excellent motivator to actually commit to a workout regimen.
These four tips are quite simple but incredibly effective when it comes to pushing it through these several critical months.

Key Takeaways

So, when considering how to stay active in the winter, the bottom line is that it all comes down to your willpower and organization. First, you need to understand why it is important to stay consistent with your fitness principles even during the colder part of the year. Second, you need to make it easier for you to actually make it. Finally, sometimes it’s important that you find the right way to incentivize (bribe) yourself to do the right thing. The above-listed tips could be of some assistance there.

For those who suffer injuries during the winter workout or fear something like this might happen, finding an orthopedic at OINJ could help put your mind at ease.

This article was reviewed and approved by an orthopedic surgeon as we place a high premium on accuracy for our patients and potential patients.