Working Out in Wintertime
Exercise is something that comes a lot more naturally to most people when the weather is warmer. There’s a reason so many diets talk about “beach bodies” and “getting in shape for swimsuit season.” When it’s warm and sunny outside, it feels like one of the best things you can do is go outside and work up a sweat. It doesn’t really matter if you’re getting your workout in at an air-conditioned gym, an outdoor pool, or just by running around your neighborhood. It’s all good for your body as well as your sense of self.
Winter, on the other hand, is another matter. We’re all bundled up in warm clothes, and we don’t want to do anything other than huddle under the covers, perhaps with a heating pad or electric blanket. The idea of going out and working up a sweat when it’s twenty degrees outside seems akin to making a peanut butter and asparagus sandwich. Some things just don’t go together well. It’s hard to talk yourself into working out when there’s snow falling outside and a roaring fireplace inside. Winter clothes are also a lot more forgiving, which is a double-edged sword.
You shouldn’t expect yourself to work out six days a week for two hours at a time in winter. You’re not a professional athlete. Be kind to yourself, but don’t just give up on all forms of activity until March. Sure, technicians came out and winterized your pool before Halloween, so you’re not going to be swimming any laps anytime soon, but you still have other avenues available if you choose to pursue them.
Gyms have heaters
Gyms want their patrons to be comfortable while they work up a sweat, so they’re going to have the heaters on something close to full blast in the wintertime. In most fitness centers, you can walk in workout shorts and a tank top and be perfectly fine, as long as you throw on some layers before you go back outside. Heading to the gym is a good reminder that life goes on even when the trees are dormant and the wild animals are hibernating. Just try to spend 30 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine. You can also add in some light weight-lifting for a more balanced workout, but that’s up to you. Give yourself that time to unwind and try to relax. It may sound counterintuitive to call something that gets your heart rate up “relaxing,” but think of that sense of peace that comes after a workout. You may be sore and sweaty, but you’ve also accomplished something, and you know it.
Speaking of sore, sometimes joints and muscles seem to act up a bit more during cold weather. If you’re worried, check out a site like All About Knees and educate yourself on ways to keep your body in proper working order. If something about your exercise regimen is causing you pain, then you should stop doing it. If you try to push yourself too hard, you’ll just end injuring yourself. Remember that the goal is to feel good. If you end up needing crutches in the middle of a harsh and icy winter, you’re not going to feel good.