As tempting as it is to snuggle up on the sofa and eat comfort food during the winter months, staying active throughout the year is an essential part of staying healthy. But how do you do that when miserable weather hits and it feels too cold to go outside? Grey skies aren’t particularly motivating.
You could hit your local gym, which Is usually heated or at the very least, filled with the body heat of your fellow exercisers. But not everyone loves the gym, and even if you do, you still have to motivate yourself to go outside to get there.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to stay active in the comfort of your own home. Here are some examples:
Set a Challenge
30 day challenges such as reaching a certain number of planks and squats are great during winter, and super easy to do. And with only one exercise to perform, you’ve got no excuse to skip it! A challenge works by upping your exercise time each day to gradually build your strength.
For example, on day one of a plank challenge you’ll be asked to plank for 20 seconds, but by day 30 you could have increased to 300 seconds! You can perform it once a day or as many times as you like.
If you need some ideas for exercises you challenge yourself to do, read 50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere.
Moving common objects out of reach
This easy way to move more, keeps the energy flowing in and around your home. Move your most used objects such as television remotes, cups/bowls, etc. to different parts of the home so that they’re not in easy reach. That way each time you need it, you’ll be forced to go for a walk to get it.
Walk and talk
Every time the phone rings, use the time to go for a walk. Distracted by the conversation, you’ll be surprised by how many times you can pace the house without getting bored. In fact, many people already do this subconsciously, so make sure you count it towards your daily activity! Why not download an app, such as Pacer, that will help you track and monitor your daily steps. If you aim to reach 10,000 steps each day, you’ll be on your way to achieving a healthy and active lifestyle.
Do a workout DVD
There are some fabulous workout DVDs on the market that give you a quick, efficient, and fun workout in the comfort of your living room. Some of our favourites include:
- The Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout: LA-based fitness guru Tracy Anderson keeps stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna in shape, and her easy-to-do-at-home workouts have her DVDs in high demand. And just because it’s easy to follow and can be done at home doesn’t mean you’ll be taking it easy - be prepared for a tough workout!
- Yoga for Beginners: If you prefer a lower-intensity workout, why not try yoga? Elena Brower takes a unique approach to teaching beginners yoga poses that strengthen, stretch, and revitalise the body. Yoga is also a great way to relax and calm your mind, meaning that yoga can improve your mental health as well as tone your body.
- 10 Minute Solution - Pilates Perfect Body: For a good in-between workout, these 10-minute segments focus on different parts of the body. By offering multiple workouts for different areas, you’re less likely to get bored. At 10-minutes a session, you’ll always be able to fit it into your day.
To maximise your workout, try using multiple DVDs or add some YouTube workout videos into the mix.
Every bit of active movement helps. Vacuuming and mopping are great ways to burn some calories - even scrubbing the bath or oven can be great exercise. You’ll feel great afterwards, and will have a lovely clean home to relax in!
Take the Stairs
Running or walking up and down stairs in your house or apartment building can be a great, high intensity cardio and leg workout. To step it up a notch, try taking the stairs two at a time, sprint a few flights, or do jumping jacks between floors.
Popping on some high energy music will not only motivate you but can be great to dance to. Dancing is an effective cardio workout and lots of fun to boot, so crank up the volume and get grooving!
If you can’t bear missing your favourite TV show, watch it actively by performing push ups, squats, dips or jumping jacks. Alternatively, you could challenge yourself by seeing how many times you can take the stairs during an ad break.
Designate an exercise area
Decluttering and making space for your workouts will make working out at home much more enjoyable. Make the area free from distractions, hang some motivating quotes, and make a playlist of your favourite workout songs.
If you feel that exercising indoors isn’t for you, and are still up for braving the elements and exercising outside, here are some tips to help keep you motivated:
- Rug up
Wearing layers will keep you warm, and as you warm up during your exercise you can decrease your clothing. There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad wardrobe choices!
- Create heat
If you prefer to exercise in the morning, adjust the thermostat timer so that your house is nice and toasty when your alarm goes off, and getting out of your nice warm bed isn’t such an ordeal.
- Recreate early morning light to make waking up easier
Invest in a bedside lamp that simulates natural daylight. The Philips ‘Wake-Up Light’ for example gradually increases the light, and comes with a built in clock and alarm. Starting your day with natural light will activate your internal clock to get ready to take on the day, and is very helpful on a dark winter morning.
- Prepay for a class at the gym
A new exercise class or sport keeps things interesting, and when you pay upfront you’re more inclined to go. After all, why would you not use something you’ve already paid for?
- Rope in a friend
If you’re feeling less motivated in winter, it’s most likely that a friend is too. Support each other by enrolling in a class together, or by arranging to meet for a run/fitness class at a certain time each day.
- Warm up indoors
If it looks cold outside, get warm before you leave the house by doing jumping jacks, lunges and squats inside. With your blood pumping and your energy increased, you’ll be warm enough and enthusiastic enough to take on the outdoors.