Throughout history, animals have stored fat to stay warm in the winter months they spend hibernating. Humans are similar in the sense that during the winter months we exercise less and eat more. So it is not a surprise that with the winter come extra pounds.
In the summer, staying fit is easy. Many fun summer activities such as swimming and hiking involve being outside and being active. And the swimsuit season motivates us to keep our bodies in tiptop shape.
But it’s harder to stay fit in winter because rather than wearing swimsuits, you spend your days wearing baggy sweaters that cover bodily imperfection in your attempt to stay warm. Winter also brings the holidays, which means being busy and having less time to worry about working out and eating healthy. Plus who wants to eat fruits and vegetables when you’re surrounded by sugar cookies and other yummy baked goods?
There are many excuses for not staying fit in the winter. However, there are also many reasons to stay in shape during the cold months, starting with New Year’s, which is motivation in itself. So here we offer a look at 13 ways to be healthier in the remaining winter months of 2013.
1. Go sledding: Sledding is an inexpensive and easy way to be active when it is cold outside. It’s an activity that won’t feel like a workout because you’ll be having fun but you’ll also be burning calories, running up and down those hills, at the same time.
2. Join a gym: Working out is a lot easier when you have a place to go. January is the perfect time to join a gym because many gyms have New Year’s promotions and discounts.
3. Shovel snow: It’s a chore, true, but shoveling the driveway and sidewalk is something that must be done. While you’re at it, do a neighbor’s driveway. Then you’ll be getting an act of service in while also working off that last holiday cookie.
4. Try a TV-commercial workout: Sometimes, during the winter, you just want to relax and watch TV, especially because there are many season premieres. So go ahead, watch television, but when the commercials begin it’s time to start sweating. A simple Internet search will reveal thousands of TV-commercial workouts like doing 10 jumping jacks for every travel advertisement you see or 50 sit-ups for every food ad you watch.
5. Eat a warm breakfast: We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We also all know that mornings are cold these days, so cold cereal is not the most appetizing meal to have in the mornings. Try having something warm, such as oatmeal, to make breakfast sound more appealing.
6. Go snowboarding/skiing: Take advantage of the “greatest snow on earth” by hitting the slopes. This is another fun activity that will be a workout without feeling like one.
7. Sleep: Yes, you read that right, sleep. Take advantage of wanting to stay under the covers in the mornings and get a few extra minutes of sleep. Americans do not get enough sleep as it is and sleeping more will boost your metabolism.
8. Drink water: Staying hydrated is easy in the summer because it’s so hot you feel the need to quench your thirst. But it is just as important to drink water in the winter as it is in the summer, so keep that refillable bottle handy.
9. Compromise: By cutting out all yummy sweets you’re setting yourself up for failure later. So compromise with yourself and have treats in moderation. Allow yourself that cup of hot chocolate because you’re cold, for instance, but skip dessert later.
10. Workout at home: If going to the gym isn’t for you, there are plenty of at-home workouts that you can do. Netflix has exercise shows that can be done at home, or even just doing a few push-ups and sit-ups before bed every night will put you in better shape.
11. Snack smart: Snacking throughout the day will prevent you from overeating because you won’t be so hungry by the time meal time rolls around. Just make sure you choose nutritious snacks and not just a candy bar.
12. Buy a new outfit: Invest in a workout outfit you like. This will be an investment in yourself. By having something to wear that you like, you’ll want to work out because you’ll want to wear that outfit.
13. Don’t give up: Being healthy is not easy; sometimes it can be discouraging. Remember if you had a bad day today that tomorrow is a new day, so get up and try again.
Caitlynn Kindall is a senior at Ogden High School. She enjoys being physically fit, being crafty and staying busy. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.