Despite being a winter baby born in February, I’m not a big fan of winter weather. While a fresh snowfall is beautiful to watch, the cold temperatures and short days make it really hard for me to stay as active as I would like. What I try to remind myself on cold blustery days when I would love to curl up in bed is this: I have my physical health and a place to exercise in cold winter months. This is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted, even when temperatures drop and it’s nearly pitch black outside by the time I leave work. Although it took me some time to adjust to a consistent exercise routine in the winter, I sure am happy that I did. Working out in the winter helps with my mood, gives me more energy, and helps me to eat more nutritious and well-balanced meals throughout the cold months (I owe it all to my Crockpot.)
What is a ‘Healthy Weight’?
Your healthy weight is your natural weight, which is largely determined by your genetics. If you come from a family of larger or smaller people, you are likely to be larger or smaller. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being within a healthy weight level is about maintaining a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories that your body actually uses. It is not a weight that is achieved through restricting what you eat or excessively exercising in order to lose weight.
Now in its second decade, the annual Healthy Weight Week hopes to combat potentially unhealthy standards of beauty by celebrating non-dieting lifestyles that promote healthy habits and body acceptance. During the week, people are encouraged to eat well, stay active, and celebrate diversity by viewing themselves and others in a positive light.
If you’re anything like me and find it difficult to exercise in the winter, try out some of my favorite indoor activities. Most of these require little to no equipment and can be done in 30 minutes or less in the comfort (and warmth) of your own home! Are there any exercises that I missed? Feel free to add your favorite indoor workout routines in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
- Body weight resistance training: There is no need to venture outside to complete these exercises that involve using your own body weight to gain strength and increase endurance. Some of my favorites are mountain climbers, planks, and burpees. Check out more here.
- Go down swinging: Who knew that swinging cast iron could be such a great workout? If you want to combine strength training and cardio into one effective workout, pick up a set of kettlebells. One recent study found that doing kettlebell exercises could help you burn about 20 calories per minute — the equivalent of running a 6-minute mile pace. Here are some fun exercises to try.
- Plyometrics: If you haven’t tried plyometrics, get ready for an intense workout with seemingly simple moves. These workouts incorporate explosive movements like tuck jumps, jumping jacks, and single-leg hops to improve cardio endurance and strength. One of my personal favorite at-home options are the Insanity DVDs. Shaun T makes me work!
- Yoga/Pilates: There are tons of free videos out there that let you practice yoga and Pilates moves from the comfort of your own home. Here is one of my favorite beginner/introductory sites (I’m still an aspiring Yogi.)
- Take the stairs: It’s tempting to stand in the lobby of your office or apartment building and wait for the elevator, but you’ll do yourself a healthy favor through a commitment to climbing the stairs. The act of climbing stairs is a challenging exercise that burns calories more quickly than you would think! In addition to burning calories, stair climbing builds your muscles, strengthens your bones, and leads to greater cardiovascular health.
NOTE: Always consult your doctor before trying a new exercise routine to be sure you are in good health to complete it.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!