Cold winter weather can make it harder for you and your family to stay active – you feel less motivated when it's dark for so much of the day and it's difficult to bring yourself to bundle up and venture outside for an activity.
This can lead to a negative cycle – the less you do, the harder it becomes to gather the energy to do anything else. You end up lethargic, which can contribute to seasonal affective disorder. So it's important to find ways to stay active, even if it's hard to leave the house.
Try some of these activities to keep you moving during those long winter months:
"There are plenty of workouts you can do at home."
1. At-home workouts
If you're struggling to get to the gym during inclement weather, know that there are plenty of workouts you can do at home without the need for any specialized equipment! Many exercises can utilize your own body weight – think push ups, burpees and mountain climbers – to help you keep your blood flowing and staying fit. Women's Health Magazine compiled a list of body-weight exercises you can do in just 15 minutes.
You can also do your cardio routine at home. Even if you normally use a treadmill or elliptical, you can switch it up and do a series of jumping jacks or jog in place to get a good workout in. Take a few trips up and down the stairs at a brisk pace to really work your muscles.
To add a little weight to your routines without the use of kettlebells or other gym equipment, simply hold a heavy book or other household object to push yourself a little more.
2. Play active games with your kids
You're likely not the only one feeling the effects of being trapped indoors. When the weather outside is frightful, switch up your movie marathons with some fun, active games that can keep you and your kids moving. Parenting recommended a game of animal charades – have everyone write down the names of some animals on pieces of paper and then put them in a bowl. Take turns drawing slips and acting out the creature while the rest of the family guesses what it is. It's an easy way to keep your children entertained while ensuring that you all keep moving.
You could also put on some fun, kid-friendly music and have a living room dance party. If your kids are into sports, try clearing out some space to play indoor soccer or volleyball with a balloon. Perhaps you can even devise an indoor Olympics for everyone to participate in.
"Stay active when you're cleaning your house."
3. Clean the house
Chores may not necessarily be synonymous with fun for you, but you can burn a lot of calories and stay active when you're cleaning your house. Staying motivated to maintain your cleaning regime all winter long can be tough, so it's good to take a day where you feel antsy to do a deep clean of everything. That way you don't have to worry about chores piling up on days when your energy is lower. Take those days instead to do simply tasks, like wiping down kitchen surfaces and giving the carpets a quick vacuum. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel sitting in a cleaner environment!
4. Bundle up and head outside
Even if you're not a fan of the cold, spending time outside is an essential mood booster. Invest in some quality snow gear for the whole family and take some time on a sunny day to get out and enjoy those rays. Build snowmen, have snowball fights or go sledding down a nice hill. These activities require a lot of physical exertion so you get a good workout, but you'll be having so much fun while you do it that it won't even feel like work!
Live in a mountainous area? Why not take up skiing! Learning snow sports together is a great way for the family to bond, keep you active and let you find something fun to make a dreary, stormy winter something to look forward to. If you're up for it, you can even look online or at local yard sales to try and pick up outdoor gear like snowshoes or cross country skis that you can use whenever you want in your own backyard.
Staying active throughout the winter is important for your health, so find a way to keep moving that you can commit to. By finding ways to make physical activity more fun or convenient, you can be confident that you'll be able to stick with it all season long.