Too dark, too rainy, too cold -- there are countless obstacles to outdoor exercising in the winter months. It's also a time for easy excuses. But what a shame to see that hard work you've put in all year go to waste because it's less pleasant outside. It shouldn't be this way, it doesn't have to be.
Admittedly, walking or running in foul weather is not everyone's cup of tea. The temptation to remain sedentary is extra persuasive then, but the effects become evident all too soon, especially when you add in the extra food intake that seems unavoidable during the holidays.
So keeping an eye on your fitness routine is even more important. Not only does regular exercise benefit the body all year round but the mind as well and can keep the notorious "winter blues," a.k.a. "Seasonal Affective Disorder" (SAD), at bay.
Scientists at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in cooperation with colleagues from the Witten/Herdecke University in Witten, Germany, have found that when people move less, their mood also changes, and not for the better.
Worse yet, prolonged lack of physical activity can lead to occurrences of negative emotions, including bouts of depression, according to their study results.
If that is not damaging enough, the researchers also detected connections between insufficient exercise and deficiencies in memory.
It's as simple as observing someone's gait that can tell a lot about whether that person is depressed or cheerful and energetic. Also, in memory tests that required recalling strings of words, participants who felt downbeat remembered predominantly negative adjectives like "boring" or "stupid," in contrast to their counterparts with a more positive outlook who focused on descriptions like "courageous" or "attractive."
The tests confirm what prior research has abundantly shown, namely that the way and the intensity by which we move affects our mental capacity as well.
Obviously, there is a correlation between body and mind when it comes to remembering information, Dr. Johannes Michalak, a professor of psychology at Witten/Herdecke University and lead researcher, concluded in the study report.
Besides the positive effects on the mind, there is also much to be said for the benefits of winter activities for the body.
The best defense against catching a cold or worse is to strengthen the immune system. This can be done by eating a diet full of immune system-boosting foods, getting sufficient amounts of sleep, managing stress and, of course, exercising.
Cold temperatures and precipitation don't have to keep you inside. But there are some caveats, he says, that should be considered. For one, it takes longer for the muscles to warm up. In order to avoid injuries, it is important to stretch and increase intensity gradually. Also staying dry as much as possible by wearing protective gear and getting out of wet clothes quickly is a must. Other than that, there is no reason why anybody should forego their favorite outdoor activities, come rain or shine.
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“The best suggestion I can make is group fitness,” says Danielle Girdano, certified master personal trainer and the president of D’Fine Your Health. “This can be fun motivating and not too strenuous, depending on the actual class.” Photo Credit: Wiki/localfitness.com.au Click Here to See More of The Best Workouts To Do When You’re Too Tired to Exercise
Often relaxing and always low-impact, Yoga is one of the low-key group exercise classes that Girdano recommends most and it was also a top pick for certified personal trainer & registered yoga teacher Julia Chan. “It’s a great way to tune into mind/body connection and to breathe," she said. “Starting with sun salutations is a great way to energize the body… next thing you know it may end up begin a power yoga session.” Photo Credit: Wiki/localfitness.com.au
Chan says that TRX training is another great low-impact workout that can be easily completed even when you’re tired. “It can be adjusted to the level you want to work out,” she said. “And it’s great for supporting you through the exercises to keep you safe.” She also likes it because if you feel up to it, you can easily add jumps or more dynamic movements in order to get your heart pumping a bit faster. Photo Credit: Wiki/localfitness.com.au Click Here to See More of The Best Workouts To Do When You’re Too Tired to Exercise
“Taking a hip hop or any other sort of dance class is a great way to spark up energy levels,” says Chan. “Plus, you're dancing and releasing stumped energy so it won't feel too much like a workout. More like just having fun.” Photo Credit: © Flickr / crmgucd
Lisa Reed, certified strength and conditioning specialist and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness LLC suggests trying a Tabata workout when you’re tired because it’s short and sweet. “The best thing about the Tabata workout is that you can perform these short, intense routines with your own bodyweight in the comfort of your own home,” she said. A typical Tabata workout consists of eight intense exercises. You’ll perform four rounds of each exercise for 20 seconds each with just 10 seconds of rest in between each 20-second bout. “Tabata raises your heart rate, pumps up your muscles and increases your fitness levels in just 4 minutes,” Reed said. Click Here to See More of The Best Workouts To Do When You’re Too Tired to Exercise Photo Credit: © Flickr / Cathe Friedrich
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