How To Exercise In The Winter Without Going To The Gym
Don't let the colder weather and darker days get you down - exercise is a great way to ward off the blues, and it's especially important during winter when many people tend to be less active.
Did you know that outdoor exercise can also help boost your energy?
You can still get your daily dose of exercise despite the change of season - all you need is a little creativity and this handy guide.
- Don't dismiss exercise in the winter - there are plenty of ways to stay active without setting foot in a gym!
- Wrap up warm, but make sure that your clothing is breathable and won't restrict your movement.
- Remember to warm up and cool down properly, and drink plenty of fluids - EVEN IF YOU'RE COLD!
With just a few simple tips, you'll be on your way to an energized and happy winter. And who knows, maybe you'll even start enjoying the colder months:
Let's start off easy...
If the idea of taking your workout on the road leaves you cold, (see what we did there ;) there are loads of great indoor exercises that will get your heart rate up without ever having to step foot outside.
Using your stairs as a makeshift stair climber is a great way to get in a quick cardio workout. If you have stairs in your home, simply start by walking up and down at a moderate pace.
If you live in an flat/apartment, skipping the lift on your way home from work or taking the stairs instead of the escalator can also be a great way to sneak in some exercise.
Dancing is a fun way to get your heart rate up and it doesn't even feel like exercise! Put on your favourite tunes and let loose - you'll be surprised at how many calories you can burn.
For a double-whammy, you could always combine the household chores with a bit of boogey-ing and multi-task your way to fitness!
3. Bodyweight exercises
You don't need any fancy equipment to get in a great workout - your own bodyweight is enough to provide resistance and help build muscle.
There are loads of different bodyweight exercises you can do, but some of our favourites include:
For a full-body workout, try doing a circuit of different exercises with 30 seconds to 1 minute of each. Repeat the circuit 2-3 times and you'll be feeling the burn in no time!
Yoga and Pilates are great for improving flexibility and strength, and can be done in the comfort of your own home.
There are plenty of online tutorials and classes available, so you can easily find a routine that suits your level. And if you're new to yoga or pilates, there are loads of beginner-friendly exercises that will help you get started.
5. Jogging on the spot/knee-ups
If you live in a flat, your downstairs neighbours probably won't thank you for this one, however, jogging on the spot is a great way to get your heart pumping without having to leave the house.
If you want to take it up a notch, try adding in some knee-ups (lifting your knees as high as you can with each step) or high knees (running in place, lifting your knees to hip-level).
6. Skipping or Jumping Jacks
We're taking it real ol' school here with some classic playground exercises. Skipping is a fantastic way to get your heart rate up, and you can do it either indoors or outdoors.
Or, you could try some jumping jacks for an extra cardio boost - best part about these is they can be done anywhere, anytime (and yes, by that we mean in front of the TV or in the kitchen whilst you wait for your tea to brew)!
The colder temperatures won't bother everyone so if you're the type that loves to feel the chill in the air, there are plenty of outdoor exercises to help get you through winter.
Walking is a great way to get some fresh air and it's a low-impact exercise that's suitable for all fitness levels.
If you want to walk with a purpose, try setting yourself a goal like walking to the next town over or reaching a certain number of steps each day.
Running is a great way to get your heart rate up and it's a great workout for your legs. If you're new to running, start by jogging slowly for a few minutes and then build up your speed and distance as you go.
Of course, colder weather usually means (lots of) rain, leaves on the ground and ice... so, watch your step!
There are plenty of great running routes all over the country, so you can explore new places whilst getting some exercise at the same time!
Cycling is a great way to see the sights and get some fresh air. It's also a great workout for your legs, so it's perfect for those looking to build some muscle.
If you don't own a bike, you could always try hiring one or using a bike-sharing scheme. Most major cities have these schemes now, so it's worth checking to see if there's one near you.
Hiking is the perfect way to explore the great outdoors and get some fresh air. It's also a great workout for your legs, so it's perfect for those looking to build some muscle.
There are plenty of great hiking trails all over the country, so you can explore new places whilst getting some exercise at the same time!
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Winter Workout
Exercising outside does come with its own caveats, though...
These points are worth keeping in your back pocket:
What to wear:
Yes - it's going to be cold; yes - it will most likely be wet, however, neither of these mean getting trussed up like the Michelin Man in waterproofs!
Your workout gear needs to serve a few purposes:
- Keeps you dry; some form of waterproof/resistant layer is essential, however...
- Is breathable; something equally important is ensuring that the fabrics closest to your skin are able to "breathe" - you definitely don't want to be drenched in your own sweat which is one of the fastest ways of getting cold, so you also need something that...
- Keeps you warm; choose fabrics that will help to insulate your body heat, such as wool or fleece (this is really down to personal preference).
- Is comfortable; you're going to be moving around a lot, so make sure that your clothing won't restrict your movement
- Is Lightweight; you don't want anything too bulky slowing you down. Thermal underwear is also a great option for those cold winter days, as it will help keep you warm without adding too much bulk.
- Is either brightly coloured (think neon-bright) or has some form of reflectors on it; this is for safety reasons, as you want to make sure that you're visible to other people (and cars!) when exercising outdoors in the winter.
What to do:
- Warm up; Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that you can skip your warm-up! In fact, it's even more important to warm up properly when exercising in the cold, as your muscles will be tight and your body will be working harder to keep warm.
- Don't forget to cool down afterwards too; just because you're cold, doesn't mean that you can skip your cool-down. In fact, it's even more important to cool down properly when exercising in the cold, as your muscles will be tight and your body will be working harder to keep warm.
- Drink plenty of fluids; It's important to stay hydrated when exercising at any time of year, but it's even more important in the winter as the air is dry and you're more likely to suffer from dehydration.
- Fuel your body; Eating a nutritious meal before you exercise will help to give you the energy you need to power through your workout.
Although exercising outdoors in the winter does come with its own caveats, there are plenty of ways to make it work.
By following the tips we've outlined above, you'll be able to stay warm and dry whilst getting a great workout.
So what are you waiting for? Get outside and start sweating!