There's nothing better than cozying up with a blanket and binge-watching your favorite shows during the winter. But, the colder, snowy weather isn't an excuse to totally ditch your exercise routine. Staying active during the winter season is important — it boosts your energy levels and can even help combat seasonal affective disorder.
If snowshoeing or skiing isn't really your jam, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to stay active indoors during the colder months. Check out our top 10 ways to get moving inside!
1. Start the day by moving
Start your mornings off with 10–15 minutes of stretching or light core exercises. By starting your day with exercise, you'll release endorphins and feel more motivated to tackle your to-do list. It also helps your body recognize that resting is over and it's time for some movement.
By taking just a few minutes each morning to stretch, you'll not only improve your flexibility and strength, but you'll also release and reduce tension in major areas, like your shoulders and back, that are heavily affected when you're stuck inside and not moving for hours at a time.
2. Move while watching TV
You don't have to completely give up your Netflix marathons, you can just make your binge-watching more productive. If you have any cardio equipment at home, like a treadmill or spin bike, hop on while you're watching TV. You'll pass the time while catching up on your shows and burn a few extra calories. It's a win-win.
If you don't have any equipment at home, no problem. Switch between different body-weight exercises between commercial breaks to get some extra movement in.
3. Use a fitness app or online program
There are plenty of free exercise apps, workout programs, and classes online. From yoga to kickboxing, there's something for everyone at any fitness level to enjoy. These online options are great for switching up your workout routine and trying a new exercise in the comforts of your own home. Paid subscription apps can also hold you accountable during the winter when you might be working out alone at home.
4. Use household items as gym equipment
The gym is full of machines and weighted equipment that can kick up the intensity of your workouts, but you can replicate that same effort by just using your body weight and some items around your house. Good body-weight workouts for strength training include squats, pushups, burpees, crunches, planks, and sit-ups.
If you want to add some weight to your workouts, you can fill empty milk jugs with water and use those for bicep curls or weighted lunges. Do you have kids? You can even use them as weights! Let them sit on your back while you do some push-ups, press them over your head, or invite them to do some of the same movements you're doing (kids love to copy adults!). Getting your children involved also instills healthy habits at a young age.
Do you live in apartment or have stairs in your house? Use them! Running or even just walking up the stairs will work up a sweat. Challenge yourself to go up and down the stairs for 5 or 10 minutes a day — your blood will be pumping in no time!
5. Make it a family affair
Put together a workout competition with your family! Your family members, especially kids, will be more interested in participating if there's something to win. You could try doing crunches or wall sits with everyone, and increase the number of reps or duration as time goes on. Winner gets to pick the board games and snacks for family game night.
6. Dress the part
If you are lounging on the couch in your pajamas, chances are, you're going to continue to lounge around and reach for the remote, instead of your fitness watch. When you wake up, get ready for the day as you normally would, but dress up in your active wear. Even if you're not working out immediately, your outfit will serve as a constant reminder to get yourself moving.
7. Stick to a schedule
If you wait around for the best time to work out, it most likely won't happen. It's important to carve out a specific time to exercise each day at home, just like you would if you were going out to the gym. Put together a workout plan that best fits your schedule and stick to it, even if it's just 30 minutes a day.
8. Think outside the box
Not in the mood to drop and do push-ups or a do a vinyasa flow? No problem. Traditional exercising isn't the only way you can stay active indoors during the winter. If you're not feeling your workout, swap out that time for some chores around the house instead. Deep cleaning your living room, organizing your pantry, DIY projects, vacuuming, and putting together furniture all require physical energy, and bonus — it lets you be productive at the same time.
9. Keep it moving
If you find yourself hardly moving throughout the day, set a timer every hour to get up and move around. It doesn't matter what you do — you just want to start building the habit of moving your body more often. It gives your mind a quick moment to reset and also ensures that you stay active.
You could go to the kitchen and whip up a healthy snack for a quick 10-minute break, load up your favorite yoga or mediation video and unwind for a few minutes, or walk up and down the stairs a couple of times. Even if you start small, moving your body a little more each day will increase your health and longevity.
10. Create a dedicated workout space
The idea of gathering all of your dumbbells, bands, and exercise balls can seem exhausting enough, let alone actually working out. Set up your own little exercise area — it doesn't have to be much, it just has to be functional for you and your fitness routine. A yoga mat and a few exercise bands on a clean floor with space to move around is all you need to keep you motivated.
Using these 10 ideas to stay active can really make a difference in your physical and mental health during the long winter season. At OnSite Wellness, we prioritize health and wellness. Incorporating a wellness program at your workplace can have massive benefits for your employees in managing their health. Contact us to learn more!