If getting fit is your New Year’s resolution, this is a great time to start! During the winter, we tend to feel sluggish and because of the lack of sunlight, we eat more and stay indoors. Beginning an exercise regime in the winter will not only keep you thinner, but also keep you healthier by boosting your immune system. In fact, research shows that people who exercise regularly during the winter experience 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than non-exercisers.
If you’re just starting an exercise program, here are a couple of pointers:
1. Find a workout you like to do. If you find an activity that you like to do (or at least don’t hate to do), stick with it. The important thing is that you find something that makes you move. It’s a lot easier to stick to your resolution to exercise if you enjoy exercising. If you don’t know where to start, try a bunch of workouts until you find one you like.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Yoga. Practicing yoga has a slew of health benefits—including increased flexibility, muscle tone and energy; as well as providing relief to those suffering from back pain. A recent study by the National Institute of Health found that women who did restorative yoga burned 2 ½ times more body fat than those who just stretched for that same period of time. Similarly, a study in the Journal of Alternative Medicine found that overweight men who practiced yoga and breathing exercises daily lost an average of 4 pounds in 10 days.
- Exercise in the Water. Working out in the water is refreshing and fun, and the good news is if you have access to a pool, it’ll be easy for you to try water exercises like aerobics, jogging or lap swimming. If you suffer from any knee or joint problems and have a tough time hitting the pavement or treadmill, water exercise is a great alternative.
- Kettlebells. Kettlebells will sculpt your body and strengthen your muscles all while helping you get a good cardio workout in. Kettlebells come in a variety of weight so you can pick what you’re comfortable with to start, and increase weight from there. A wide variety of moves will help keep boredom at bay.
- Cycling. Cycling is the perfect way to challenge yourself while raising your heart rate. If you live in an area with a lot of outdoor trails, take your bike out for a spin. You’ll see something new and burn mega calories. In the winter, try an indoor cycling class at your local gym.
- Dancing. Dancing is a great full-body workout that will boost your heart rate and help you with coordination, balance, flexibility and core strength. It’s also an easy way to incorporate exercise at home as long as you have a device that can play music and a little room to move. Gyms also offer a wide variety of dancing classes like Zumba, hip-hop and barre.
2. A little bit of exercise is better than no exercise. For many of us, it’s hard to make the time commitment to work out. Between work, taking care of kids, running errands and doing chores around the house, our schedules are booked. Unfortunately, if we can’t dedicate a full hour of exercise per day, we just skip it all-together. The important thing is to remember 10 minutes of exercise is better than no exercise at all so if that’s all you can fit in, do it anyway.