by guest blogger, Jason Lewis
We all know exercise is good for us. When the seasons change and the icy weather starts rolling in, however, it can be difficult to keep up with at fitness routine during the cooler months. If you’ve ever fallen off the fitness bandwagon in the winter, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are ways to get your workout groove back so you can continue making healthy choices all year round.
Even if winter has you indoors, you can stay warm while working out - and you’ll enjoy all the other benefits of exercise at the same time. Here are a few fun exercises you can do anywhere:
- Jumping jacks. Jumping jacks are a go-to weight-loss move that help you increase bone mass. The added benefit of that extra bone mass is that it naturally helps decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Like other aerobic exercises, jumping jacks can help lower your blood pressure and enhance your overall health. Best of all, jumping jacks are a fully customizable, equipment-free workout. You can do them in the comfort of your own home, in between Netflix episodes or during commercial breaks.
- Yoga. As you might already know, yoga calms the mind and body while also soothing the soul. What you might not realize, however, is that yoga is also a form of exercise that can help you strengthen your core muscles, which naturally improves your balance. Because it’s low-impact, many of the basic yoga poses are safe for most ages, fitness levels, and experience levels. Just consult with a trained yoga instructor to learn how to perform each pose without overstretching your muscles or straining any old injuries. Yoga can be performed anywhere, at any time, and usually doesn’t require any special materials, making it extremely easy to get started with a personal practice.
- Trampoline. Sure, kids consider it playtime, but jumping on a trampoline is a serious workout for an adult. As an example, a 150-pound woman can bounce away more than 250 calories an hour by jumping on a small, indoor trampoline. That’s enough to provide a stellar workout all winter long!
- Dancing. Even if you have two left feet, poor balance, and zero coordination, you can’t deny that dancing is fun. Hip-hop, salsa, and other fast-moving forms of dance offer cardiovascular benefits comparable to jogging. It’s also a great way to lose weight. You could take your significant other to a romantic date night at a ballroom dance studio, or go solo to a professional dance class to learn some moves. Feeling shy or embarrassed to dance in public? Luckily, YouTube provides plenty of free video tutorials that you can watch from your living room. Just search for your favorite style of music and enjoy getting fit while staying warm.
- Hula hooping. Hula hooping was a popular form of fitness many years ago and it has made a comeback in a big way. That’s great for those of us who are nostalgic for our childhood memories of hula hooping in our backyards. Hooping can help you shake off up to seven calories per minute, which is quite impressive, to say the least. Most exercise hoops can be broken down for easy storage; however, you don’t need anything fancy to get started. The toy departments at most retail stores will have starter hoops that should work just fine!
In addition to the above exercises, if your budget allows, consider investing in a few key pieces of home gym equipment. An elliptical machine and free weights can help you focus on cardiovascular health and muscle strength. You don’t have to have lots of space, the corner of a spare bedroom or an empty spot in the garage will be just fine.
Exercising is not something you do for your physical health alone. It has many mental health benefits, too. If you are one of the millions of Americans recovering from drug addiction and/or seasonal affective disorder, keeping your brain healthy through exercise during the winter months is every bit as important as keeping your body healthy through proper nutrition.
Speaking of nutrition, you need food to stay motivated, energized, and focused. But it’s much more difficult to access fresh fruits and vegetables (that actually taste good) in the off-season. Fitness Magazine’s list of seasonal fall and winter foods is a good starting place to help you plan a nutritionally balanced menu. Thankfully, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms are on the list so you have plenty of options for winter-worthy comfort foods that won’t break the bank or bust to the scale.
Another thing that can make weight loss, health, and nutrition easier is a fresh food delivery service. Especially in the winter, meal delivery can come in handy. Even if you’re stuck indoors, and have no desire to go out in the cold, you can still enjoy fresh, healthy meals at home. Many meal delivery services have organic ingredients and recipes that are specially formulated to help you lose weight. Whether you’re looking for portion control, a new diet, or simply trying to incorporate healthier types of food into your meals, having delicious and healthful ingredients close at hand will make it easier to make long-lasting, healthy choices.
Regular exercise and nutrition deliver a host of benefits to your body, soul, and mind. That’s why it’s so important to find a way to sustain your healthy choices all year long, including during those winter months. Now that you know the benefits of working out, a few ways to sneak in activity indoors, and what to put on the menu to keep yourself energized and strong, you have no excuses. So get up, get moving, and get to trying some of the ideas listed above. Before you know it, winter will be over - and you’ll be fit, healthy, and ready for summer.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer who is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell to share his tips on senior fitness.
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