Even though a large part of the country will be experiencing a warm winter this year, the winter season can still provide the perfect excuse for falling off your exercise routine and sinking into a sedentary slump. And while most of us, according to the New York Times, may be at our lowest weight of the year right now, a Cornell study found that many of us rapidly gain weight in the weeks approaching the holidays. In addition to preventing weight gain, regular exercise is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
“The advantages of regular exercise are too great to be put on hold when workouts become inconvenient, especially during colder months,” according to Joseph Giaimo, DO, an osteopathic board-certified internal medicine physician. “People who exercise reduce their risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis.”
Exercising regularly doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym—you just want to make sure you’re establishing a sustainable cadence of physical activity. So what’s the best way to fight the onset of winter weight gain and maintain a healthy exercise routine through cold weather and holiday dinners? We’ve gathered a few tips to help everyone #keepmoving through to the New Year.
- Lean on technology. It can be difficult to accurately track our levels of physical activity, especially when we’re getting sucked into the stress of the holiday season. Strap on that wearable activity tracker and set movement reminders to help keep you accountable to a step goal. Bonus points if you get your friends on board with your movement goals to hold yourself doubly accountable.
- Invest in an Ice Cream Truck—the mountain bike, that is. The Surly Ice Cream Truck powers through all terrains in any season, meaning that you don’t have to slow down this winter.
- Make the stairs your mountain. Commit to climbing Mt. Whitney before spring. At 14,494 ft., Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain on the continental US; if you climb just seven flights of stairs every day until June, you’ll have virtually summited it. Looking for more of a challenge? You can summit the equivalent of Everest by climbing 18 flights a day.
- Light up the dark. The end of Daylight Saving Time means that those short winter days are going to get much shorter soon. Investing in the right gear—a headlamp by Petzl or Black Diamond, reflective clothing and accessories, or lights for your bike—can make all the difference. The added visibility will keep you safer while you exercise in the dark, and you’ll soon find that a whole new world opens up to exploration when you’re outside with a headlamp.
- Make sedentary time active. This doesn’t have to take a lot of effort: step onto your FluidStance® Level® rather than sitting down or standing still at your desk, make an effort to stand up and walk around whenever you’re on the phone, or foam roll (our team digs the collapsible Morph by Brazyn Life) as you watch TV. You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to add movement to those times where we don’t even realize that we’re inactive.
- Turn winter into summer. The season doesn’t have to change when you can just change your clothes. Between a North Face puffer coat, Patagonia base layers, and a Patagonia winter wetsuit, there’s no summer activity that you can’t tackle this winter. Do what you’d normally do—just in the right clothing.
Photo credit: The Radavist