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7 Tips for Staying Active All Winter Long

Winter is the time for eating rich foods, relaxing at home, and adding a little extra padding to your physique—right? Wrong. While you certainly should enjoy your holiday season, if you neglect your health all winter, you’ll be kicking yourself when spring arrives. While we can’t promise it will be easy, these seven tips will help you stick to a fitness regimen even when it’s freezing out.

1. Go to bed earlier

As the days grow shorter, it’s normal to feel more tired than usual. Not only do you have less energy for working out, but when it’s dark and cold outside of working hours, motivation tends to run short too. Start hitting the sack a little bit earlier each night to combat winter fatigue so you have more energy for getting active.

2. Use a wake-up light

Do you have aspirations of early-morning workouts but struggle to drag yourself out of bed before sunrise? Try a wake-up light, an alarm clock designed to simulate the sunrise so it’s easier to rise early. Preparing your gym bag and an on-the-go breakfast the night before simplifies your mornings so you can get up and go, even if your brain isn’t on yet.

3. Hit the gym at lunch

If you simply can’t drag yourself out of bed for a pre-sunrise workout, go to the gym during your lunch hour instead. Working out during the warmest part of the day is an easy way to avoid frigid temperatures and keep the winter blues at bay. Worried about smelling sweaty at the office? Use POPSUGAR’s tips for freshening up post-workout.

4. Embrace layering

Go outside in your regular workout clothes during winter, and it won’t take long before you’re regretting your decision. At the same time, bundling up too much will leave you overheated and sweaty. The key to staying comfortable during winter workouts is layering so you can remove and add layers as your body temperature changes. The key elements of a winter workout outfit are a moisture-wicking base layer, insulating mid-layer, and an outer shell to protect you from the elements. Don’t forget to keep your extremities warm with a hat, gloves, and wool (not cotton) socks.

5. Invest in better shoes

Running shoes make poor winter boots, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept cold, soggy feet on a winter run. The best sneakers for winter workouts are breathable and waterproof with ample tread to prevent falls in slick conditions. Gear Patrol’s winter running shoe guide will help you find a pair that fits the bill.

6. Take up winter sports

Rather than finding ways to complete your typical workout in winter weather, why not make the most of the season by taking up a winter sport? Skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, winter hiking, and fat biking are just a few of the ways you can burn calories and have fun in the winter.

7. Build a home gym

Can’t bear to brave the cold? A home gym makes it easy to meet your fitness goals regardless of the weather. Whether you have a lot to spend or a little, you can build a setup suitable for strength training and cardio in the comfort of your own home. A yoga mat, dumbbells, pull-up bar, and adaptable resistance bands are enough to create a basic home gym, or you can take it to the next level by adding a stationary bike and a power rack, barbell, and plates.

Taking a break from exercise during the winter means setting yourself up for a struggle come spring. Not only will you have extra pounds to shed, but you’ll have to relearn the good habits you worked so hard to establish. By staying active even when it’s cold out, you can protect your health and stay on track toward your long-term fitness goals.

Image via Unsplash

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