Brrr….quite cold outside no matter winters is my favourite season. You get to enjoy the snow, the cool weather, play winter sports, celebrate, read or knit beside the fire place and snuggle inside the bed for a peaceful sleep.
I love the season also because there are so many winter goodies to eat like the dry fruits, traditional recipes made of sesame seeds and jaggery to keep you warm and chocolate winter desserts like puddings crumbles and tarts. All these things though tasty and favourable most of the time add sufficient amount of calories and fat to my body.
When it comes to keep in shape this is what winter is considered a bit idle. As days are shorter in winter I seldom get time to go to gym and do some workout. But do you know for healthy body and mind we do need to exercise even in winters. I remember the old saying “ Take care of your body, it is the only place you have to live in”
One of the “Worst Winter Woe” is that Your body’s chemical switch starts storing more fat.
When University of Colorado researchers studied a group of 12 women and six men in both summer and winter, they discovered that their production of ATLPL, (adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase) a chemical that promotes fat storage, almost doubled during the winter and dropped during the summer. But you’re not doomed to don fat pants all season, scientists say. Exercise may increase SMLPL, the muscle enzyme that promotes the burning of fat, to offset the pudge-promoting effects of ATLPL. “We found that people who are normally physically active are more protected from weight gain,” says study author Robert E. Eckel, MD.
What then should one do to get our motor running? Get in at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days, whether it’s spinning, snowshoeing, or even building a snowman.
Exercise not only keeps out the winter blues but also becomes a form of entertainment in winters. It is not necessary for you to have a costly gym membership to stay in shape as winter approaches. Even skiing and ice hockey are great sports, but they can be costly and require gears and equipment with a lot of training, travelling and planning. But with little creativity and enthusiasm it’s not hard, and can even be fun, to stay in shape all winter long.
Here are 10 best winter fitness deals without joining the gym. Before starting these tips it is often good if you keep yourself bundled up in warm layers if you go outside in cold weather.
1. Walking in Winter
What takes to walk? You will obviously answer my feet and legs. Yes does it cost then. No, not at all. Only it costs is your will to get up and walk. Walking is easy and requires little more than a good pair of shoes. One of my uncle who is 87 years of age walks barefoot on the green grass (with early morning dew drops) at his garden to keep himself fit. Walking help you burn calories, increase blood flow, and give your heart and lungs a boost just by putting one foot in front of the other. Walking is also a great stress reducer.
Also you can go on Hike. Go out Hiking as it affords many of the same benefits as walking, and gives you the chance to explore new vistas and even make similar fitness freaks.
2. Running in Winter
Vigorous exercise like running slows the effects of aging and appears to help fend off disease and disability. You can start with few shorter distances to longer ones once you feel comfortable. When the days get shorter and the temperature plummets, many people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). Running helps release powerful hormones that help combat this depression, increasing positive mood states during the cold weather months.
Running outdoors helps boost your mood even more. One study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that people who exercised outdoors reported increased energy, decreased feelings of depression, and were more likely to repeat their workouts.
If you but want to avoid running in winters for any reasons then what you can do is have some exercises at home. I avoid going out for running or walking in extreme cold weather what I have is a stationary gym bike in my room to go for shorter or longer workouts.
3. Geocache in Winter
How about treasure hunting in winters? You can do this collectively too with your friends or family and go for high-tech treasure hunt. What all you need is access to the Internet and a GPS device. The GPS on your cell phone will work just fine. First, look up what treasures are hidden in your area on the official Geocaching web site, then head out to find them. Geocaching also keeps your mind healthy. It gives a chance to learn about the outdoors, problem solving and teamwork.
4. Skating in Winter
Skate boards are liked by all in snowy winters. Not only you can move faster but also is great fun and aerobic and social workout that can be done free of charge in some arenas. If you do not have a skateboard make one for yourself at home. (this too is an exercise)
I remember myself skating down the snowy slopes and roads in winter when I have to fetch something from the nearby grocery store. It not only is a winter workout but also saves my time walking on hard snowy terrain. Also it acts as medium to move outdoors in winter and socialize among your neighbours and friends.
5. Yoga or Pilates in Winters
Yoga is a great way for everyone to keep muscles limber and take a stress break. Pilates builds strong core muscles and can improve posture. Get a DVD or search online video for practice and start the follow at home. Find some exciting Yoga poses here to do it at the comfort of your home in winters.
6. Swimming in Winter
Swimming is loved by many of the Americans. If you have a pool at home then its all the fun or can go to a friend’s indoor pool. If you are not accustomed to cold water you can adjust your pool’s water temperature. Swimming is good for mental and physical health and helps you stay young. If you swim in cold water it will make your body work twice as hard to keep you warm and burn more calories in the process. For this exercise fat is your body’s primary source of energy and the increased work rate will increase your metabolism in the long run. Do not forget to clean the pool too!
7. Dancing in Winter
It is not always to go for stereotype of exercises but you can make your workouts more enjoyable in any way you like. As an indoor activity in winters I put on my favourite music or song and dance (even my pet dog joins me..lol) and it is so much of fun with this physical activity to burn out the excess from the abs. Also you can engage yourself in bowling activity and this you can perform with your family, friends or even solo.
“Exergaming” or interactive gaming is also popular indoor activity for winters. Though researchers looked at two games, Nintendo’s Wii Boxing and Konami’s Dance Revolution, they found that some of these games can boost fitness within limits. They do not offer as many health benefits as playing an actual sport. But these highly active exergames are a good way to get moving on a cold or rainy day.
9. Doing Household Chores
Believe it or not household chores are itself different forms of exercises and workouts. Sitting idle doing nothing in winters is sedentary time you can avoid by indulging yourself in your own household job and do some work outs. Completing your weekly chores such as laundry and vacuuming accumulate into active minutes. These tasks may not be enjoyable at times, however, they contribute to providing a level of protection for your health. Think of different ways to make these chores more entertaining like listening to your favorite holiday music while completing them. The motive is to keep yourself busy and doing something active.
10. Eating Healthy
Winter is the season to eat comfort foods. Skip those mouth watering pies and holiday cookies, but instead make lots of room for in-season fruits and veggies. There are plenty of delicious fresh fruits and veggies available in winters. Stock up on produce like grapefruit, kiwi, pomegranate, pears, kale, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. They keep you fit and healthy naturally.
Apart from these 10 fitness deals you can use your own methods of keeping yourself fit and fine in winters. For office goers don’t miss your lunch time, or evening workouts , walking the stairs and avoiding lifts in office. I cannot forget my earlier office set up in winter where it was made a compulsory policy to go for evening yoga workout and to the dance floor of your choice for healthy art of living.
Plush gym memberships and pricey healthcare policies are a luxury most of us simply can’t afford. But these inexpensive, free ways to get fit and healthy in cold weather works wonders. Remember to hook yourself with winter gear if going outside, taking things slow and steady when working for fitness, drink plenty of water and set a goal. How about a pistachio kiwi sauce ice cream? So what it is winter!