If you are committed to getting fit when you head into retirement, you must not neglect the winter months. Just because it is cold outside does not mean you can slack off on your commitment to get and stay fit! Embrace winter and learn some savvy techniques to not only stay warm in the wintertime, but also enjoy working out.
There are some great benefits to keeping up the exercise pace in the winter time. First of all, you do not lose that precious ground you have gained in the warmer months. Second, there are plenty of winter sports and ideas for great workouts. Third, staying active in the winter months also helps you fight off normal cold weather illnesses such as the flu and colds. In addition, weight is kept off and you will also keep those winter blahs and blues away.
By creating a good year-round fitness regiment, you can avoid injuries, even in the cold winters. It is all a matter of finding cold weather fitness ideas and implementing them. Plus when you keep fit all year, you are less likely to injure yourself in the winter when you have to shovel snow or even just keeping your balance on icy sidewalks.
Here are a few great ideas to keep yourself moving in the winter time:
1. Keep on walking – Snow should not be a deterrent to sticking with your walking routine. If possible head to your nearest mall and walk there. Stick to shoveled sidewalks for your workout. You can also strap on some snowshoes and trek across the snow.
Snowshoes are easy to master after a few turns around the block. The only difference with snowshoes is that you will have to adjust your walking gait. Bigger steps and lifting your feet a bit higher are the two biggest changes. With snowshoes, you are actually getting a better workout.
2. Cross country skiing – You are probably thinking, “yeah right!” However, many seniors are discovering the delights of strapping on some skis and enjoying the crisp cold air. With just a few lessons, you can learn to cross country ski. It’s a low impact sport and yet it is an awesome aerobic workout. You don’t have to brave the huge slopes or anything either. Your snow covered local park should work just fine.
3. Ice skating – If you have fairly good balance and some great pads to protect your body parts, why not try ice skating? You can make the workout as intense or low impact as you want. Both indoor and outdoor facilities are typically found in winter months.
When you exercise in the winter months, you have to take care of yourself as well. You will need to dress appropriately. Think in layers. When you wear layers of clothing, these layers trap body heat keeping you warm. The best part is that when you start getting warm from your workout, you can just peel off one layer and still be protected from the weather.
As you age, you need more insulation to regulate your body temperature, especially during the winter months. Look to down and fleece materials for your insulating layers. The outer layers of jackets and coats should be a breathable nylon so that it repels water, snow and wind.
Also, it is important to wear a hat and protect your ears. Body heat is often lost through the head so you need a breathable fabric to keep your head warm. Plus, ears freeze rather easily and they are not well-protected by wind. Cover them up. Insulate your feet and keep your hands warm with gloves.
Apply sunscreen and lip balm when going outdoors and always stay hydrated. With winter sports, it pays to play it safe. Exercise with a friend; watch weather reports before venturing out. Keep a cell phone with you in case you have to call for help. And most of all, warm up your body before you head out for your winter activities and be sure to cool down with stretches afterward to avoid injuries.
So as you can see, there is no reason not to venture outdoors when the first white stuff hits the ground. Winter can be fun and exercise can be too!