The nights have drawn in, it’s getting cold out there, and the temptation is to hang up the gym kit and snuggle up in front of the fire with a hot cup of cocoa. But don’t let a bit of ice deter you from your exercise, because if you can keep going through the winter – you’ll have a lean and healthy body when you finally have to get it out again in the summer. To give you some inspiration, here are some top exercises to do in the winter.
1. Armchair exercises. If you really can’t be bothered to get out in the cold, there are ways you can burn some calories, and even break a sweat in the comfort of your own home. Tricep dips using the height of your sofa, lunges in front of the TV, bicep curls using a couple of bags of shopping and a few minutes of running up and down the stairs should get you breathing heavily. And when you’ve finished, at least you only have to collapse back onto the sofa.
2. Take advantage of a winter wonderland. Dig out your favourite woolly hat and matching gloves and scarf combo, grab the dog and the kids and go out for a crisp walk in the winter air. There’s nothing quite as invigorating or beautiful as a walk on a bright winter’s morning, and it’s something the whole family can enjoy together – meaning you can have fun doing it. It might be that you have a plan to walk to the local pub for lunch, or when you get back you can toast marshmallows on the fire, but whatever your end goal, make sure you get out there and enjoy the views.
3. Take the plunge. It’s not everyone’s idea of fun, but on Christmas day lots of people visit their nearest beach and take the plunge into the chilly sea. Ok, so it’s going to be freezing, and certainly breathtaking, but if you can manage a few strokes then you can consider yourself superhuman and reward yourself with a hot meal afterwards!
4. Enjoy a fun run. Even if you’re not a club runner, there are loads of fun events you can take part in over the festive season – whether it be a 5K, a 10K, or a ten-miler. Most reward you with hot mince pies, or a Christmas pudding for every finisher – and there are some that might even provide a hot toddy. What’s not to like?!
5. Another way of seeing the countryside in all its winter glory is going out for a pony trek. You may not feel like you’re doing much exercise, but your thighs will tell you otherwise the following day. It’s not something most people do on a regular basis, but as a bit of fun with a difference why not take the reins and get trotting. You can get to areas you might not attempt on foot, and on a beautiful crisp day you’ll have the best of vistas from on top of your steed.
6. Think Caribbean. So it may be the depths of winter, but you can already start planning for the summer. Fancy SCUBA diving in sunnier climes? Well why not learn in your local swimming pool. Mentally you’ll have something to look forward to, getting you through the winter months – and you’ll be getting some great exercise and having a lot of fun in a pool near you.
7. Make a racket. Indoor racket sports make for a great winter exercise pastime as they are in the warm, and get you even warmer with their fast pace and skill. You can play with a friend and get competitive giving you something to look forward to each week.
8. Relax. Take your blanket, a comfy tracksuit and some thick woolly socks and get flexible with some gentle yoga or Pilates at a local class or at the gym. The great thing is at the end of most sessions you will have the opportunity to cover yourself with your warm attire and do some deep breathing or meditation. You’ll be lovely and toasty and float all the way back home.
9. Go Swedish. The thought of swimming in the winter is enough to bring you out in goosebumps, but if you visit a pool with a sauna and steam room then you can be convinced to relax and get warm after your workout. If you don’t end up doing any swimming at all, at least you’ll have lost some weight in sweat.
10. Get adventurous. There are a lot of outdoor sports that are best left alone in winter – for practical reasons. But there are a lot with indoor alternatives. Take rock climbing for example. Many gyms and leisure centres offer indoor climbing walls which make you work hard and are suitable for all ages.
Whatever your ideas for winter workouts – make sure you keep exercising throughout and maintain that summer body you worked so hard for.
by Kath Webb
by Laura Briggs
by Kath Webb
by Kath Webb
by Jessica Ambrose