Mix Up Your Winter Workouts

The weather outside is (getting) frightful. And while, yes, the fire inside is warm and delightful, exerciseespecially the fresh-air kindis still the best thing going to stay healthy and beat those winter blues.

It’s easy to stay stuck to the sofa during these colder, darker days, which is why we’re here to help keep you motivated until spring arrives. Rather than letting your commitment to staying fit hibernate, winter is a great time to mix up your regular workouts and try something new. Just remember to stay well hydrated and dress in layers!

1. Turn a workout into pure play: When was the last time you made a snowperson (285 calories an hour burned) or a snow fort? Or had a snowball fight (319 calories an hour burned)? If you live in an area where snow is scarce, try ice skating on a seasonal rink , which is not only a blast, it can burn a whopping 450 calories in a single hour.

2. Embrace the winter wonderland: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even sledding (as long as you are taking the heel-toe express up the hill) are meditative and mega calorie burners. You can rent equipment at most sporting goods stores and you don’t need to trek to a fancy resort—just head out your front door! 

3.  Maximize inside spaces: Windchill zapping your willpower? Seek out indoor spots that are warm and welcoming. Walk the local mall with a friend, join a health club or sign up for a dance, spinning or aerobics class. Swimming at an indoor pool is also a great way to build stamina and stay lean through the winter months. You can even pop in a new workout DVD or just use your own body weight (plank anyone?) for a killer workout at home. 

4. Whistle while you work: A little elbow grease can go a long way in helping burn extra calories. Everything from dusting and vacuuming, mopping the floors and shoveling the driveway help keep you fitplus your home will look great for your next holiday gathering or dinner party.

5. Set a goal or two: Heat things up with a self-challenge, like shedding those extra 10 pounds, running a 5K, mastering a handstand or doing a full pull-up. Just be sure to choose something that pushes you beyond your usual comfort boundaries. Create a schedule of  smaller “action steps” and enlist a partner to help you stay on track. Keep your eyes on the prize and show off your new accomplishment in the spring!

Yes Health is a low-cost, weight loss and diabetes-prevention program committed to helping everyone live healthier, happier lives.