Winter Workout: Adapting Your Exercise Routine for Cold Weather

As the weather gets colder, it can wreak havoc on your workout routine. Here are some easy tips to keep you moving during the cold winter months (and beyond).
Winter Workoug

If you are lucky enough to have an established exercise routine, don’t let the cold weather interfere. There are lots of ways you can make adjustments that will allow you to stay fit, even when it’s freezing. For those of you who haven’t developed a routine, we invite you to join us in this winter landscape of new opportunities that will keep you from the hibernation blues. We asked Pia Johns, a trainer from the boutique retirement community, Duncaster, for her expert advice on a winter workout routine.

Reasons to Workout in the Winter

  • A body in motion stays in motion, so the less you move, the less you’ll be able to move!
  • Without that exercise, you’re more likely to gain weight. That gets worse as we get older with the changes to our metabolism. Pia points out, “As we age, it’s harder to lose weight. It’s better to maintain than to gain.”
  • You need to be around people. Interaction and activity are not only good for the body but for your brain. Join a class, go to a gym or call a friend and go for a walk together. Socializing is a great way to head off the seasonal blues.
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Setting a Goal

Pia recommends people get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. That may sound like a lot, but it’s really only 22 minutes a day. A walk outside to get some fresh air is a great way to get in some exercise, as is doing yoga or riding on your exercise bike. However, you should mix it up by focusing on different areas like balance, flexibility, core strength, cardio, and resistance training. Again, taking a class can be a good way to make yourself accountable, and your local gym should have a wide range of options to get in a quick and effective workout.

6 Tips for Creating a Winter Workout Routine

Woman running with dog in cold weather

1. Try something new.

Change is also good for your cognitive function. Think about really stepping out of your comfort zone with Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, or a dance class. You can find a variety of workouts, with routines including hour-long hikes and resistance training four days a week.

2. Take a stroll.

If you usually walk outdoors, but can’t stand the chill, move it inside. Visit a museum or go cruising through the local mall. Both destinations offer multiple benefits! You might learn something – or find that jacket you’ve been “eye-balling” on sale. If you’re concerned about being out in public, invest in a treadmill that you can use from the convenience of your own home, or find a gym that has equipment that’s easy to use and readily available. Either way, make sure you’re getting your steps in each day if this is the workout plan you elect to follow. 

3. Dress for it.

If you’re going to brave the great outdoors, go with the proper clothing. Wear layers of breathable apparel so you can adjust as you warm up. Pia advises, “In conditions that might be slippery, pick up a pair of NANOspikes or Yaktrax.” Again, if you are looking for something new and are lucky enough to have snow, try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Both workouts really get your heart pumping and burn a ton of calories while allowing you to enjoy nature and get some fresh air. 

4. Go for a swim.

Women taking a swimming class with their friends

If you are looking for something easy on the joints, how about a dip? Many area health clubs and even senior centers offer indoor water classes and open swim times. Try out a water aerobics class, where you can get some low-impact exercise and maybe even make a new physically active friend while you’re at it. 

5. Pedal away the pounds.

Winter workout routine - woman riding an exercise bike

Go for a bike ride indoors with a bike trainer. You can find them at various prices so you can see how you like them before you really invest. Or, go with the complete system, like a Peloton or MYXFitness. Both should have some sort of sale going on during the holiday season and new year that can save you tons of money while getting a high-quality product. Of course, every gym has a spin class these days, too, and the in-person experience might be just the motivation you need to push yourself a little bit. 

6. Make your home your workout.

Try some calf raises while you brush your teeth. Get in and out of a chair without using your arms to push yourself up. Get out your laptop and do some workouts with guidance from a pro via YouTube. The PRiME Women channel is a great place to start, with exercises for every area of the body from trainers that know what works and what doesn’t for those of us of a certain age. You can also sign up for Prime Women’s 30-day fitness challenge that can be done from home. 

Pia points out, “Exercise is a lifestyle. It’s just what you have to do for your body to feel good. If you think of it that way, you’ll want to come up with year-round activities.”

There you have it. What does your winter workout look like?

Also, before starting a new exercise routine, make sure you check with your doctor!

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Winter Workout


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