written by Andrea Peterson
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” –Hal Borland
Brrrr…it’s cold out there. No, this isn’t the start to that famous early 2000 cheerleader romcom chant from Bring it On.
No it really it’s cold outside. We might be in the middle of a late winter, but the late season snow and below freezing temps are making up the difference. Unless you’re an avid skier or snowboarder, going outdoors for exercise between the months of November and early April is not an option.
Summer workouts are easy. Early sunrise—go for a cool run at the park. A little too hot in the afternoon—hit up the pool for laps. Long sunlit days—grab some elevation and hike around the Wasatch mountains at sunset. Winter workouts on the other hand, are hard. Let’s be real. How do you get yourself motivated when your bed is warm, the sun is still sleeping and the slippery snowy sidewalks present Mario Kart-like obstacle courses.
It really is easy to stay in shape during the winter months and be ready to rock your spring wedding.
Dress the Part
The worst part about the winter months is the winter weather. Be it the frigid temps or the frigid precipitation. According to lifehacker.com “dressing in layers, remembering to keep hydrated, and staying visible” are the key to a successful outdoor workout.
For a little more help try Runner’s World’s guide for winter weather clothing:
- 35° TO 45°F AND CLEAR- Wear tights or thin running pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and a vest. You may also need gloves when the temp gets near 35°F.
- 35° TO 45°F AND RAINY- Slim-fitting tights fare better in rain since they won’t get as droopy. A wool base layer will keep you warmer than a synthetic top since it retains warmth when wet. Wear a waterproof outer layer.
- 10° TO 35°F AND CLEAR- Wear technical underwear under your tights or pants and a long-sleeve shirt under an insulated jacket or vest. Wear gloves or mittens and a thin beanie.
- 10° TO 35°F AND SLEET- Wear tights, a water-resistant jacket, and a cap. Add water-resistant mittens to keep your hands from getting damp and cold.
- –10°F AND CLEAR- Wear wool underwear and thick socks, tights, and running pants. To keep your core warm, go with a long-sleeve base layer under an insulated vest and windproof jacket. Wear a beanie and mittens.
- –10°F AND SNOWY- Use the same cover-everything strategy as above for the bottom half. On top, wear an insulated vest and a water-resistant or waterproof hooded jacket over your base layer. Wear water-resistant hat and gloves.
Working Out, Outdoors
Now that you’re dressed, assume the position—ready, set, WAIT! Don’t go outside just yet.
The moment that blistering wind hits your face, you’ll be back in the house and under the covers before you know it. First, get yourself warmed up and ready to take on the cold.
According to Richard Cotton, PhD, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise “It will be easier to make yourself go outside, if you warm up inside first.” Cotton says taking five to 10 minutes to get your heart rate up and warm the body such as jogging in place or jumping jacks will help elevate the frigid temperature shock that can come with stepping outside.
There’s also great news about working out during the colder months of the year. According to the Huffington Post, “As the body works harder to regulate its core temperature among the elements, you’ll burn a few more calories during your wintry workout compared to one conducted indoors.”
Take Up a Winter Sport
Okay, you’re dressed and finally outdoors. The hard part is over. The best part about living anywhere in the Salt Lake/Provo/Park City valleys is there are plenty of winter sport options to choose from.
Starting with there are 14 ski resorts in the state of Utah all within 20mins to a 3hour drive from the Salt Lake International Airport. You can downhill ski, cross-country ski or snowboard. According to Lifestrong.com, “A person who weighs 155 pounds burns 223 calories in half an hour of downhill skiing, according to Harvard Medical School. Someone who is 185 pounds burns 266 calories in 30 minutes of downhill skiing.”
If strapping yourself onto a pair of toothpicks and hurling yourself down the slick side of the mountain is not the sport for you, there are still a plethora of activities from snowshoeing, hiking or simply running. According to Men’s Fitness, “David Weck, the inventor of the BOSU Balance Trainer, suggests running in the snow as an activity that will be so intense that it will wear you down quickly, give you a great workout and get you back inside before your sweat has the chance to freeze.”
Tweak Your Diet
This next tip does take a little more effort.
It is very easy to slip up on our eating regemin. Holiday snacks and sweets kick already kick off the season into a downward spiral of yummy unhealthy goodness. So without worrying too much, it’s not about changing your diet or evening creating a new one, it is simply adjust a few ingredients.
According to Fitness Magazine, “Munch on healthy carbs in the afternoon before the sun goes down to stave off a splurge.” Studies show that the winter cravings come from the lack of sunlisht during the season which makes the serotonin in the brain less active. Thus, “too little of this mood-lifting chemical leaves you feeling tired and hungry,” says Judith Wurtman, PhD, founder of Triad, a Harvard Hospital weight-management center, and coauthor of The Serotonin Power Diet.
To help brighten your mood during the dark months, Wurtman recommends eating low-fat, healthy carbs in the morning “such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal with a sprinkle of brown sugar, and cinnamon toast” and then during the afternoon try “popcorn, soy crackers, or cereal” and for dinner, “opt for roasted potatoes, whole-grain pasta, black bean soup, or vegetable stew with barley.”
Create a Simple Daily Routine
According to Fitness Magazine, “Don’t settle on your sofa until you’ve completed your workout for the day.”
This is a really good tip. I know I am the first person to get home and through on sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirts. Even though it’s only 5 p.m., the sun has already been in bed for an hour so why not join in? Instead of jumping straight into your PJ’s, create a routine of putting on your workout gear. And even if the night calls for an evening on the couch, make it an active evening on the couch.
Mike Donavanik, a celebrity trainer in Beverly Hills, encourages you to also take commercial breaks. He recommends this repeating this circuit during every commercial break:
— 15 squats
— 15 push-ups
— 15 crunches
— 15 seconds of high knees
Just going outdoors and playing will keep you active get your heart rate up. Try one of these silly activities:
Building a fire: 80 calories
Curling: 270 Calories
Having a snowball fight: 96
Shoveling snow: 192