Finding ways to stay in shape this winter may seem like a difficult task. With the busyness that often comes with work, holidays, and spending time with loved ones, it may seem like there is little time left for fitness. Plus, when it’s negative twenty degrees and snowing outside, working out is probably very low on the list of things you want to do – especially if you have to venture out to go to an expensive gym. So as you can see, it seems like it can get expensive and might take a lot of effort to stay in shape this winter. However, I’m going to share with you my favorite ways to stay in shape this winter that are actually very easy to do (as in, you don’t have to leave your house) and cost nearly nothing at all.
Practicing yoga is on of the great ways to stay in shape this winter. It offers training in both flexibility and strength, thus creating long, lean muscles that women often seek. Also, it may not seem like it, but if you do intense enough yoga it can actually offer cardiovascular benefits as well, making it the ultimate full body workout. There are so many yoga videos that are free for you to watch and practice on YouTube, so that is a great place to start.
Jumping rope may seem like something you would do as a child, but it really is a great, inexpensive cardio option when you can’t get outdoors. You can do intervals of jumping rope for a minute then resting if you just want to do a cardio workout, or you can pair it with strength exercises like push-ups for a full body exercise routine. Jumping rope will certainly get your heart rate up, just as good as running would in my opinion. By the way, you can even do this exercise while you’re watching television if you want to distract yourself.
There are so many videos available on YouTube that offer free strength, cardio, and equipment-free workouts. Although most of them are short, doing a couple of them is a great way to stay in shape with no equipment at all. My favorite channels are Blogilates, ToneItUp, and Sarah Fit. They all produce amazing, consistent content and are so supportive of advocating a healthy lifestyle. So why not try one and see how you feel?
Although most people don’t like doing burpees, they are the ultimate form of cardio when you don’t have any equipment. You can do a burpee by jumping down into a squat, then placing your hands on the ground. From there, jump your feet back so that you’re in a plank or top of your push-up position. Then, you can either do a push-up (or girl push-up), then jump your feet back between your hands. Jump up to a standing position, lifting your hands to the sky as you jump into the air. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can, which will vary greatly depending on your fitness level. I usually try to do 3 sets of 20 though.
If you are a high school or college student, the easiest way to motivate yourself to stay in shape this winter is to join a winter sport or intramural sport. Even if you aren’t a student, practicing a winter sport like ice hockey with some friends can be a good way to workout. You could even just have fun ice skating (which, if you’re actually skating the entire time, burns about 450 calories in just one hour!), snowboarding, or skiing with some friends if the weather isn’t too cold to get outside.
This may sound like a strange way to exercise, but it is the perfect effortless way to stay in shape because you’ll be having fun and spending time with loved ones while doing so. If you have kids, you can help them build snow men, go sledding with them, or just move around making snow angels. Even if you don’t have kids, getting some fresh air with some friends and making a snowman can be a fun way to exercise. If you still want to play in the snow, but don’t want to build a snowman, going for a walk through the snow to look at Christmas lights is a great way to get active as well. Plus, coming in from the snow to a mug of hot cocoa just makes it taste that much better after your hard work, right?
If you are looking for a new way to stay in shape this winter, why not try out cross-country skiing or snowshoeing? Cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to stay fit because you are working your cardiovascular system, as well as building strength (especially in your arms!). You can do it with friends, and it is pretty inexpensive if you can find a used pair at a thrift shop. Snowshoeing is especially fun to do with friends, because nothing is more fun than watching your friends fall over when they’re trying to walk across the snow. I’m kidding, but on a serious note, snowshoeing is a great workout as your body tries to maintain its balance.
If you or someone in your family has a video game console, playing a workout video game on there can be a great way to work out while spending time with family. You can work out with games like Dance Dance Revolution, Just Dance, Wii Sports, or Xbox Kinect Sports. These games might be a little more expensive than the other options, but many of them like Wii Sports come with the console, and they are great to do with large groups of people. Plus, you don’t even have to leave your house to do it!
If you’re a runner like me, but can’t afford a gym membership, this is a great option. Many runners are able to tough out the winter conditions and bundle up to face the elements, but let’s face it: sometimes it just isn’t safe to run outside. If it’s negative twenty outside with a negative fifty wind chill, or the road is completely iced over from a winter storm the night before, you probably aren’t going for a run outside. This is wear running on stairs (inside) can be helpful. Try running up and down your stair case as fast as you can – I like to do this in intervals so that it mimics an interval hill workout. If you don’t have stairs, jogging in place while bringing your knees up as high as possible would work as well. Plus, it’s free and can be done anywhere (almost).
Those are my favorite ways to get active during the winter months. I want to say that make sure you are doing some kind of exercise that you love this winter, so that you don’t feel unnecessary pressure during a time of holiday joy. Remember, life should be about balancing your choices, and if you don’t exercise one day because it’s negative twenty outside, cut yourself some slack. It’s what you do most of the time that counts, so try to incorporate some of these exercises when you can and you will be in great shape by the time spring comes around. What is your favorite way to exercise during the winter?
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