With the weather getting chillier by the minute, you don’t have to convince us of the difficulty of sticking to a fitness routine. Let’s face it: It’s a struggle to keep up with healthy habits when sipping hot chocolate and staying under the covers is so tempting. Don’t fret! Below are a few tips that will have you in your best shape no matter the weather.
1. First things first: Get your flu shot!
When the temperature plummets, doors are shut and we’re cooped up inside where viruses can thrive. If your immune system isn’t up to par, a flu can put you out for a few days, setting your exercise routine off, and making you feel worse. Ward off seasonal sick days with an influenza vaccine, which can reduce your chance of getting the flu by up to 60%.
2. Eat seasonably well
Who says warm comfort food can’t also be nutritious? The key is to avoid recipes that are high in fat, salt, and sugars, and opt instead for flavorful, healthy soups and stews. Be sure to include seasonal staples in their prime, such as leafy greens, root vegetables, and citrus fruits packed with vitamins and minerals.
3. Keep it indoors
This is a no-brainer. If you dread running in bone-chilling weather, there are plenty of at-home workouts you can try instead. All you need is a solid wifi connection and a playlist of YouTube videos — yoga, aerobics, kickboxing — that you can follow from the convenience of your living room. Once you get off the couch, you’ll warm up quick.
4. OR… IF YOU DARE TO HEAD OUT
Start off with an indoor warm-up to get your blood pumping and shake off the cold. Heating up first will also prevent you from over-bundling, which can potentially be troublesome if you sweat and dampen your clothes, causing a wet, uncomfortable workout, and potentially exposing you to hypothermia. Experts suggest wearing light layers that are easy to shed, and dressing as if it were 10 degrees warmer. If you can handle it, the rewards of an outdoor workout include burning more calories because your body works harder to regulate temperature.
5. Don’t forget to pamper your skin
With the cold air biting at our skin and indoor heat drying it, hydration becomes key. A humidifier is a great way to provide relief to cracked skin and clear congested nasal passages. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends setting the moisture level of your humidifier between 30 – 50% in order to prevent the growth of bacteria. Get the most out of this device by also changing the water and cleaning it often. Another tip for dry skin: apply a generous amount of moisturizer after showers, and try to keep showers brief and lukewarm, as long, hot ones dry skin even more.
6. Drink up
It’s easy to forget to drink water in the winter, since we don’t feel ourselves losing as much moisture from perspiration. Nonetheless, it is vital to follow the Institute of Medicine’s recommended 2-3 liters a day. If a cup of cold water doesn’t sound appealing, try a cup of hot herbal tea. Chamomile is a perfect salve for the joint inflammation that intensifies in cold weather, while ginger tea helps enhance immunity.
7. Lastly, Relax!
Stress is known to make us more susceptible to winter viruses, such as the flu or a cold. So, take mindfulness breaks throughout the day, and don’t forget to kick your feet up at the day’s end.