Beating the Winter Workout Blues
When your workout routine is disrupted by winter weather, finding ways to stay active can be difficult, especially if you prefer working out outdoors. Winter is the perfect time to try activities that warm weather and the great outdoors would normally cause you to ignore. So rather than roughing the frigid elements or skipping workouts altogether, consider trying some of the following indoor workouts, besides hitting the treadmill or elliptical.
Swimming is definitely something many people consider a summer activity and tend to take advantage of at outdoor venues. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be restricted to summer. Even if the gym isn’t your thing, many gyms and athletic clubs have indoor pools specifically for water fitness. Consider swimming some laps or participating in other water-fitness exercise such as low-impact cardio, dance workouts, or team sports such as water polo. Water has a naturally calming and restorative effect, so these fun activities have the bonus benefit of reducing stress as well.
While yoga is often billed as stretching, most who take a class find that it is more of a workout than they might have imagined. Not only does yoga help build strength, but it can significantly increase flexibility. Yoga also focuses on personal gratitude and can provide some unique mental health benefits similar to meditation. Winter is a great time to take advantage of hot yoga, which helps increase the intensity of the workout, and at 105 degrees, will knock off the winter chill in a hurry. If the heat is too much for you, consider other less intense forms of yoga which still provide a complete workout. In addition to being another restorative fitness option, yoga postures can be modified to meet anyone’s needs regardless of age or condition.
If you are up for adventure, indoor climbing or bouldering is a great way to stay fit inside without getting bored. While there are many different styles of climbing, the biggest differences are in whether the climber is wearing a harness. While you can purchase your own equipment, you can rent it at most climbing gyms for a nominal fee. Both types of climbing provide a complete upper-body workout but also require mental focus that helps participants block out the stress of the world outside. Climbing takes a combination of strength and skill, so it is important to focus on your own climb and have fun as you learn new tricks.
If you have never tried a martial art, this is also a fun activity for the winter months. This category includes everything from karate to tai chi to mixed martial arts. Like the other options above, martial arts require greater focus and discipline than some other fitness options and provide mental health benefits as well. However, adult classes for beginners may be more difficult to find. You can start by looking for a taekwondo class (which is the most popular form in the U.S.) or consider kickboxing to get some of the same benefits with easier access.
When you think of bowling, you might not think of fitness, but it definitely counts. It is a great activity to help get you through the winter doldrums and squeeze in a workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. It is low-impact, which makes it a fun workout for a wide range of people. Bowling increases hand-eye coordination and balance, while helping you burn calories. It is also a
very social activity, which provides mental health benefits during the winter months when folks tend to avoid getting out.
There is plenty of inclement weather during the winter months, so take advantage of some of these indoor fitness activities. Focusing on both physical and mental health benefits is especially important during this time, since people tend to be less active in general and get less exposure to the healthy benefits of sunshine. Taking time to try a new activity is good for brain function and might even lead to you finding a new favorite sport.