During long summer days, getting outside for exercise before or after work is a pleasure compared with the dark mornings and evenings of winter. It takes a bit of planning and preparation to continue your exercise program post-summer, but the benefits of a better mood and fitter body make the effort worth it. |
The first thing to consider is whether you prefer exercising in the morning or the evening. Many people find they're more consistent with their exercise if they do it first thing in the morning. If that's you, think about how you can work in 20-40 minutes of cardio before your day begins. If exercising in the cold is unappealing, consider purchasing indoor exercise equipment. It can be more efficient to exercise at home (especially if you have small children). Check garage sales, newspaper classified ads and swap sites (like Craigslist) for ideas.
There are plenty of exercises you can do without leaving the comfort of your home--and without fancy equipment. Start by checking out BabyFit's Exercise Demos and Videos. If you are in the market for some workout gear, the SparkPeople Store has affordable portable equipment.
If your mornings are too crunched for exercise, consider using your lunch break to fit in a workout. You may not have time to do a full workout, but a 20-minute walk is a great way to burn calories and maintain fitness. If you live or work near a mall, take advantage of the climate-controlled environment to keep walking even in the dead of winter. If you're a stay-at-home mom, grab a friend and put the kids in the stroller. Take them for a walk and catch up with your friend at the same time.
Another option is to hit the gym on your way home from work, or if you're a stay at home mom, do a hand off when your partner gets home and then head out for your exercise time.
Whether you exercise in the morning, during lunch or in the evening, remember that planning is the key to success. Schedule exercise like you would any other important activity, and stick with your commitment. It takes more focus to continue your fitness program as the days get shorter and colder, but just think of it as a new challenge.
With the right clothing and planning, outdoor snow activities like cross country skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to have fun and stay fit. You may not want to try these more strenuous activities if you're new to the sports, but if you have experience with them you can hit the trails safely by following the tips below:
Cathy Cram, M.S., is a BabyFit Resident Maternal Fitness Expert.
Warming Up to Winter Exercise
Tips for Getting in a Workout When the Weather Gets Cold
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