All Entries For winter
The key to comfortable outdoor workouts during the winter months is layering. (Check out our handy layering chart to match the temperature with the appropriate clothing options.) We've done some post-holiday window shopping to discover great winter workout gear to keep you warm whether you're headed out for a long hike, a run around the park or just want to stay toasty before and after yoga class. Read More ›
See if this sounds familiar: It's cold and dark outside. You're tired and cranky, and that once-shiny New Year's resolution you made at the beginning of the month is starting to look less and less appealing. Even despite your best intentions to plan your exercise and healthy meals, all you really want to do is eat a cookie, take a nap and lie in bed for a long, long time.
We get it. If the novelty of your New Year's resolution is starting to wear off, you're not alone. Statistically, only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions actually stick to them. But guess what? You're already one step ahead of the curve, because we're here to help you make gradual, attainable lifestyle changes by offering consistent support, motivation and resources. No matter what goals you've made for 2014, we're not going to let you drop them. Don't sacrifice what you want most in the long term (better health, more energy, weight loss, etc.) for what you want right now (to veg out on the couch). YOU are worth more than that, and you deserve to live your best life. That's why we're going to help you press on through the darkest days of winter with our #2Fit2Quit social challenge for February! Read More ›
Happy New Year! Now that the holiday season is behind you, you're probably ready to settle back into a routine and reevaluate your health and fitness priorities (we know we are!). This time of year, there seems to be a new gimmick around every corner that promises to get you into the best shape of your life this time (and fast).
At SparkPeople, we don't believe in quick fixes--we believe in good, old-fashioned hard work, consistency and determination. However, we also believe that a nice boost every once in a while can re-ignite a spark that's been fizzling out. So, don't start 2014 with a gimmick that's sure to fail, or an exercise program that's way too extreme for your lifestyle. Instead, join our 30-day Winter Wellness Challenge; a realistic, sensible plan that will steer you in the right direction for a happier, healthier year ahead—no gimmicks and no fine print. Just honest, doable challenges to make you feel great, inside and out, all winter long. Read More ›
We're (finally!) entering the home stretch of the holidays. If you've been following along with our #SparkTheSeason challenge, we hope you've been creating and sticking with goals to keep you motivated throughout the month of December. But January is coming up fast, and if you're anything like us, you're probably starting to think about your goals for 2014. Whether or not you believe in making New Year's resolutions, you can't deny that January is a prime time to kick your routine up a notch after a few months of heavy eating, drinking and general merry-making. And what with the dreary weather and the warmth of the holidays behind us, a little extra boost of motivation after the first of the year can't hurt! That's why we’re introducing a brand new challenge for January, hot on the heels of our #SparkTheSeason challenge: #RockYourResolution!
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Your winter woes answered, with tips on how to treat--and weather--cold symptoms, body changes, injuries and more.
Q. I've had a cold for what seems like weeks. Should I see a doctor?
A. Yes. The typical cold lasts just seven to nine days, with people usually feeling the worst on days two to four, says Priya Wagle, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist in private practice in Linwood, New Jersey. "If you experience symptoms for a longer period of time, check with your doctor to be sure you don't have something more serious, like a sinus infection. A cold is a virus, so antibiotics won't help, but sinusitis can be bacterial and is treated with a prescription." Read More ›
As much as I love fall, I don't love the darkness that comes with it. It's already getting darker earlier each night, and it's staying dark even when I wake up in the morning. I am not a fan of that!
It's hard enough to be a morning person and wake up to work out, but when the moon is still out when your alarm goes off, forget about it! Then again, if you hit snooze and wait to work out after work, you might be faced with the same problem.
I will admit that it's not easy for me to get up and be gung ho for a workout session. I am not and never will be a morning person. It's hard for me to wake up just about every day. But I do manage to stick to my morning workouts (most days anyway). And no, I don't have super human powers …which means you can do it, too. Here's how. Read More ›
One of my favorite times of day to run is in the early morning before the rest of the world wakes up. It’s quiet and gives me time to think before the craziness of my day begins. I prefer to run when the sun is already up, but at certain times of the year, that becomes more difficult. When I do head out in the dark, my first priority is safety. Although I never assume that cars can see me, I try to make myself as visible as possible.
I hear of too many runners, walkers and bikers out with no lights, no identification, wearing dark colors and expecting that everything will be fine and that cars will gladly move out of their way. Accidents happen all the time, but you can reduce the chances they will happen to you. Here are some of the products I recommend to help you stay safe and visible when exercising in the dark. Read More ›
I dread winter weather just as much as the next guy, but this year, I made a commitment to myself that I would stick with my outdoor runs all winter (as long as it's not so cold that it's unsafe for outdoor exercise). Luckily, temperatures in Cincinnati haven't dropped below the upper teens yet, so I'm happy to report that I'm still on track with my goals so far. It's not always easy, but when you're properly dressed and prepared, outdoor exercise doesn't feel cold or uncomfortable at all.
Running this winter has helped me develop a greater appreciation of my most loathed season. These cold, dreary months used to lull me into inactivity and seasonal depression, but this year, winter is becoming fun and enjoyable for me—something I attribute to my winter runs. Now, I no longer dread the temperatures or the snow. In fact, being outside more often seems to have made me more tolerant to the dropping mercury.
I wrote an article about seasonal depression a few years ago, and one of my tips to prevent the winter blues was to make the most of winter—to find activities that get you active outdoors so you can appreciate the season instead of viewing it as a buzz kill. So for those who are struggling to enjoy the winter or get outdoors for a workout, here are 10 ways you can torch calories and make the most of the freeze without setting foot in a gym. And guess what: Most of them are actually FUN! Read More ›
For many people, cold weather and a lack of sunshine can bring on a mild depression known as the ''winter blues.'' People that experience the ''winter blues'' will generally lack motivation and energy. Others may even develop a clinical depression in the form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is ''a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.'' Those that experience SAD may produce too much melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and body temperature. Producing too much melatonin disrupts the body's internal clock and may then cause depression, as seen with SAD sufferers.
Some of the signs of SAD may include the following:
- Loss of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
- Weight gain
- Cravings for sweet and starchy foods
Believe it or not, outdoor exercise can be enjoyable year round—yes, even in the winter months!
When there is a chill in the air, it's easy to assume you'd be better off to pop in a workout DVD or take your daily walk indoors at the local mall. But as long as you dress properly, there's no reason you can't venture outside for a workout that is both comfortable and enjoyable.
The tricky part is wearing enough that you're not shivering from the cold, but not so much that you're sweating because of all of the heavy layers. Here's a guide to knowing what—and how much— to wear so that you can be prepared all season long. Read More ›
When the temperature drops, so can your motivation to get outside and get moving. So how do you resist the temptation to stay curled up under a blanket until spring arrives? According to a poll of SparkPeople.com members, 76% of exercisers have a hard time staying motivated in the winter.
I’m no exception, especially when it gets dark so early. But keeping a consistent routine helps me avoid holiday weight gain and deal with stress during this chaotic time of year.
If you are dreading the cold, you can't always blame the weather. Your attitude and approach go a long way, too. Winter doesn’t have to be a time to abandon your regular workout routine if you’ve got a good plan in place. Here's how to stay comfortable exercising outside—and adjust your plan when getting outdoors just isn’t feasible. Read More ›
The holiday season has officially started, and you may have already noticed your fitness routine start to slip a little. To keep your motivation high in the crazy days ahead, we've created this fun, calorie-blasting cardio and strength circuit workout. The 12 moves in this routine don't require any sort of equipment, so you can do them anywhere. (No more excuses for skipping out on exercise during holiday travels!) Plus, did we mention that it's FUN? This workout constantly switches from one move to the next, so you never have time to get bored. Read More ›
February is national grapefruit month--perfect timing since citrus fruit is in season during the cold winter months! Let's celebrate!
Have you ever wondered why a grapefruit is called a "grape" fruit? Yes, it's a fruit, but it's so much bigger than a grape. It all goes back to the land and the growers. When the fruit is at its peak and ready to be picked from the tree it tends to hang out together like a cluster of grapes, hence grapefruit.
Grapefruits are one of the power houses within the tropical fruit family. They are actually a natural cross-fertilization of a pomelo and a sweet orange. Pomelos are more pear shaped and larger. Grapefruits can be found with yellow, pink or red pulp, but I reach for the sweeter, red-pulp ("ruby") variety when I want to peel it and eat it just like an orange and the yellow pulp variety when I am going to bake it topped with honey and chopped pistachios. Read More ›
It was my five-days-without-a-shower (TMI?) trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon that taught me about the amazing properties of wool.
Most of us think of wool as the fabric for our winter sweaters or hats, but as I shopped at outdoor and camping stores for my trip, wool was everywhere. Wool underwear, wool hiking socks, wool base layers, wool running tights, wool everything. "What's with all this wool?" I wondered?
Since then, I've learned (and experienced) what an extremely versatile material wool really is. Beyond winter fashion, wool is one of the best materials for exercise clothing—and not just in the winter. I now have a wool neck gaiter, wool base layers for running, and socks, which are not only the socks I wear every day but also the only socks I'll wear while running.
Still not convinced? Allow me to share the six amazing reasons you should be adding more wool to your workout wardrobe (plus tips for choosing the right wool). Read More ›