Friday, January 28, 2011

Exercise + winter temperatures

Since my last post was about winter nutrition, I though it would be a good idea to talk about winter exercise.

If you're one of the lucky people that live in a place where the temperatures hardly drop below zero - I envy you. I'm currently living in a climate where the winter temperatures range anywhere from -5 to -20. Not exactly my idea of enjoyable weather.

Honestly on days like these all you want to do is stay indoors with a good book, sipping a cup of tea. But after a while even this gets boring and your body starts craving some movement (at least mine does).

Then the question appears of what to do to satisfy your bodies craving for movement. And if you don't have such a craving - what to do to motivate yourself to move a little. Especially if the view outside your window looks like this.

Well first let's explore the realms of indoor activities. Work out videos can be helpful as can indoor gym options, but after a long period of time even these options get repetitive. So why not switch it up and do something fun. I love dancing so dance videos are the name of the game for me. I alternate between that and yoga, and it satisfies my need for variety.
Another great exercise activity I tried the other day was trying to get my 3 year old brothers to burn some of that inborn child energy. Although that was officially declared "mission impossible" by me, I sure got my exercise in for the day. Bouncing around "picking coconuts" from a tree, or running around "being chased by lions" sure got my heart rate up. And I think it's safe to assume that there wasn't a dull moment.

Even with such entertaining activities, I need to venture out of the house for some fresh air from time to time. Today for instance - despite the -10 temperatures I braved the cold and went for a walk. And I not only lived to tell the tale, but actually managed to enjoy it. Here are some tips I've found that make spending time outside in these temperatures a little more bearable.

- Dress warm. I've found that you feel the cold significantly less in 5 layers of clothing then in 2 (think bulky sweaters and warm woolly socks). At this point it's not about fashion but warmth

(Even if you end up looking like them, it's all for your ultimate good.)

- Set yourself a destination you want to get to. Otherwise there will be days you'll be tempted to turn back after the first 15 minutes. Give your body a chance to adjust to the temperature and heat up.

- I usually have a few "warming points" along the way. I stop into a shop or two along the way, for the sole purpose of "defrosting" a little. If you're out in nature and there are no such points available, I would suggest you walk faster and for a shorter amount of time.

- It's always better if you can accomplish something along the way. I usually opt to walk as opposed to taking a bus if getting to where I need to go is within realistic walking distance. It saves money and helps me get my exercise in, without the need to schedule it for another time.

Do you have any tried and proven methods for getting exercise in during the winter months?

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