Winter. The comfort food, the cream soups, succulent hot chocolates and less revealing clothes all equal up to the perfect time for weight gain.
But winter’s not just about high-calorie foods and hiding weight gain in bigger clothing. Even our desire to warm our houses means we reduce the need for our bodies to burn energy to keep warm. Researchers have studied how “brown fat,” produced in response to a cold environment, accumulates during the winter months, which can translate to weight gain.
Below are some Cold Weather Workouts to keep you warm this winter, and why it’s important to stay active even when all you want to do is bury yourself under a doona!
Exercising During The Winter Months
If you live in a snowy area, consider experimenting with winter sports, such as downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating or ice hockey. You could even partake in some snow-related activities, such as building a snowman, sledding, snowball fights or shovelling snow (remember to lift your legs – not your back – and use a small shovel so you aren’t lifting too much weight).
Unfortunately, most of Australia doesn’t see much snow, so you’ll have to get creative on winter exercising. Many effective exercises can be done at home, including the following:
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Butt kickers
- Jump squats
- Front kicks
- Jumping rope
- Lateral jumps
- Tuck jumps
- Mountain climbers
- Box jumps
Most of these exercises are self-explanatory, but here are directions to a few of the less commonly known ones:
Start position: Stand in front of a step or bench with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Movement: Very slightly bend your knees, and then as quickly as possible, jump up and land on top of the step or bench, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart.
Tip: There are several variations of this, depending on your fitness level: 1) Once you land on top of the step, step back down one leg at a time; 2) Jump back down with both legs; 3) Jump back down with both legs, but as soon as you land, explode back up straight away, landing on top of bench again. Perform several repetitions of whatever variation you choose.
Start position: Start with your hands on a bench underneath your shoulders and your feet straight out behind you so your body is in a straight line. Bring one leg up towards your chest.
Movement: Switch both legs so that they both land back on the ground at the same time. Make sure you keep your back straight as you move so your body stays in one long line. Perform several repetitions, with one jump flowing straight into the next.
Start position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Movement: Bend down and place both hands in front of your feet. One leg at a time, place your legs directly behind you so your body is entirely straight, then step back in one leg at a time, bringing your feet to where your hands are and standing back up again.
Tip: For an advanced version of this exercise, instead of placing one foot at a time behind you, jump both feet back and both feet back in again before standing. You can place your hands on a bench and practice jumping both feet behind you first before doing it flat on the ground.
Remember to stay motivated during the Winter months
- If you keep yourself motivated, you’ll find that you can avoid winter weight gain. Here are some tips to help you along:
- Keep a pair of summer shorts (or even your bikini) in the drawer and try them on every couple weeks to make sure they still fit
- Join an online fitness or weight loss system that teaches you how to exercise at home
- Take advantage of your indoor time to try new, healthy recipes. Consider converting some of your higher-carb sandwich or pasta options into filling soups instead (eg BLT soup)
- Put a picture of you in a bathing suit (or someone whose body you admire) on your refrigerator
Winter time doesn’t need to equal weight gain. By experimenting with indoor exercises, winter-related sports and activities, and positive motivational techniques, you can keep your summer body all year long!
Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0. All other images provided by Sally Symonds.
Sally Symonds has been described as “one of Australia’s leading health and fitness experts” (Good Health magazine). A published author of three weight loss books and motivational speaker, she is also the director of Love Your Weight Loss. Sally is a shining example to anyone who wants to lose weight, get fit and healthy and enjoy a fresh new lease on life for Sally has truly ‘been there and done that’. She is one of a few people in the world who has lost over 50% of their body weight and one of the 5% of people who lose weight who keep it off! Follow Sally on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.