It’s easy to take for granted the warm summer breeze that allows us to go outside and run instead of being confined to the indoors for our fitness needs. Some areas of the U.S. are lucky enough to offer beautiful weather year-round, but for those of us that enjoy the crunch of the fall leaves or the fluff of the first snowfall, staying in shape during these times becomes a task as well as a financial burden. Instead of splurging on a gym membership (or risking the eventual health costs if we don’t exercise), here are some easy tips to stay fit during the holiday season.
Take advantage while it’s not frigid
Sure, it’s not 80 degrees with a nice breeze, but you can still go for a run before snow hits the ground. The key is dressing appropriately. That means long sleeve shirts, leggings, hats, and maybe even gloves if you deem it necessary. On the bright (but not so warm) side you burn more calories when you run in the cold! And while you’re enjoying the boost to your health you can simultaneously enjoy the beautiful fall scenery provided by the change in foliage.
Limit gorging yourself
For some reason it seems like gluttony is encouraged during the holiday season. Whether it’s a Thanksgiving feast, New Year’s party, or a holiday dessert soirée the most wonderful time of the year seems designed to test the limits of our stomach’s capacity. The solution here is a simple one, but can be difficult to execute: willpower. Ask yourself if you really need a third serving of stuffing, or if those cookies are worth the extra pounds. The immediate satisfaction you gain certainly won’t outweigh the long-term costs, no matter how great of a cook your mother is.
Incorporate fitness into your leisure activities
As a native Minnesotan skating is something that comes second nature. It’s not only a fun pastime; it’s a matter of survival. Whether you’re Apolo Anton Ohno or constantly picking yourself up off the ice, skating is a great way to stay in shape and have a great time too. If skating isn’t your thing there’s always building an igloo, snowshoeing, snowball fights, and sledding. You may think going down that hill is easy, but just wait until you have to trek all the way back up, covered in snow, with a toboggan in tow.
Utilize exercises that don’t require much space or equipment
In the midst of a frigid winter it’s difficult to find the motivation to leave the comfort of a warm house, especially to work out. Fortunately you don’t need to! With the aid of a little space, a medicine ball, yoga ball, and resistance band you can fulfill all of your holiday fitness needs from home. With these few items you can create any number of workout routines or follow along to free workout videos many cable services provide on demand. If you don’t have any of these items try focusing on pushups, situps, and other exercises that don’t require any equipment.
If you already have a gym membership and just need a kick in the rear to get there, try out GymPact. It’s a great app that holds you accountable and rewards you when you stick to a workout schedule. What else helps you stay in shape when it’s hard to find the motivation?