Finding Time in Your Schedule
Many people find summer exercise easy, because there are so many fun activities available when it’s warm outside. But if you live in the North, you might find exercise during the winter much more difficult. I refuse to run outdoors when it’s very cold, the road is icy, or the snow banks have narrowed the road significantly. But I also refuse to hibernate, since exercise helps improve your immune system to help you fight off winter colds and flu, and also gives you energy and a positive outlook. So, here are a few tips to get you thinking about staying active all year long!
Find exercise videos you love, and carve out a space indoors with the equipment you need. I exercise in my basement all year long, and add outdoor activities when weather permits. The great thing about having an exercise video collection, and the right space, is that you have absolutely no excuses! Weather, time of day, long lines for equipment, etc. will not stop you from burning calories!
The new fall television lineup will be here soon. Use TV commercial breaks! Many people ignore strength training because they feel cardio burns more calories. But adding muscle to your body will raise your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories all day long.
Resistance training also strengthens your bones, and just getting stronger can help you with a multitude of daily activities. So, find a book, magazine article, wall chart or other resource showing exercises to work all major muscle groups, and do a set of repetitions during each commercial. You’ll get a 20-minute workout during one 60-minute show!
Join a walking club at a local school, or walk inside a shopping mall. You can window-shop before the stores open so you go right to the store that has the best sales or the styles you love when they are open.
Park farther away from the door and walk. At work, at the grocery store, at the mall; any place where you’re stuck walking outside anyway, just bundle up and get a few extra steps. When indoors, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. You’ll burn lots more calories. You can even try using restrooms, copy machines, etc. on a different floor just to get more exercise. Consider wearing a pedometer and challenging yourself to keep increasing your steps per day.
Use your lunch break if you work in an office. If your company has a gym, use it. Walk outside when the weather permits. If it’s raining or snowing, walk laps around the parking garage or laps around each floor perimeter plus the steps between floors.
Be less efficient! If you live in a multi-story house, take as many trips up and down the stairs as you can instead of saving things to go up or down. At the office, take a walk to see your coworkers instead of always using email. Face-to-face conversation is often better anyway, as it avoids misunderstandings and leads to better bonding and teamwork.
Consider winter sports. Skiing (downhill or cross-country), ice skating, and snow-shoeing can all burn lots of calories. Also, just play in the snow! Go sledding or build a snowman, and make some snow angels!
I hope these tips help you to stay active this winter! Remember, the key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume (and weight maintenance is balancing the intake and the burn equally over time.) If you don’t burn calories with exercise, you’ll need to cut your food intake, and that will be especially difficult during the holidays. I personally would rather exercise more and enjoy a few holiday cookies! So get in the habit of exercising consistently now!
Author: Dale Reynolds