Great Cold-Weather Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
We know you’re not ready to trade those shorts in for snow pants. The cold weather makes it easy to justify staying inside, curling up in front of the fire, putting a movie on the TV – and avoiding exercising. But unfortunately, those leftover Christmas cookies are looming. Here are some ways to beat the cold-weather blues and burn fat while Jack Frost is knocking on the door.
Get Some Gear You Feel Good In
Find workout gear that feels great and looks great. When you’re excited about a snazzy, soft new pullover, you’ll be more motivated to put it on and get in that winter workout. Plus, good gear is key to beating the cold.
The secret here is one word: layers. In cold weather, you should be wearing three layers to keep yourself warm. Your first layer should be a lightweight, synthetic material (think “dry-fit” type items) that wicks away moisture. Beware of heavy cotton materials – these will sop up sweat without drying, making you wetter and colder. On top of this, wear something wool or fleece. Finally, top off your layers with a windbreaker or water-repellent rain jacket.
Additionally, make sure you have gloves, warm socks (we recommend wool) and something to keep your head warm, like a hat or headband that covers your ears. In cold weather, you can lose up to 50 percent of body heat from your head. A hat can make all the difference.
Trade In Long Cardio Sessions for HIIT
If you’re a walker, runner or cyclist, your workouts can be long, and chances are you’re not too excited about sweating outside in freezing cold weather, even with the right gear. Cold weather exercise, meet your new best friend: HIIT.
What Is HIIT?
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, a training technique in which you give all-out, one-hundred-percent effort during quick, intense exercise bursts, followed by short recovery periods. An HIIT workout is usually no more than thirty minutes, but this method is proven to burn more calories and more fat in less time as compared to a regular, steady-rate aerobic workout. What’s more, HIIT workouts increase your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after you finish exercising, so you’re burning calories long after you stop sweating. HIIT workouts are quick, convenient (if you have enough space, you could even do one in your living room) and usually don’t require any equipment, since the focus is on raising your heart rate rather than building muscle. But if you’ve got some dumbbells that are being neglected, you can easily incorporate weights into an HIIT workout.
Here’s an example of a 30-minute HIIT workout for beginners. Do each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest, for three rounds. Make sure to engage your core while doing each of the exercises. This will help tone your belly, burn more calories and protect your lower back from injury.
30 Minute HIIT Burn
- Push-Ups - Start in a plank position, making sure that your back makes a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels. Inhale and lower your body down to a hover above the ground. Exhale and push back up to your original position. If you don’t think you’ll be able to fully exert yourself in this position for the entire 45 seconds, try putting your knees on the ground.
- Squats - Stand with your feet a bit wider than your hips. Bend your knees like you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your body weight in your heels, making sure that your knees stay over your heels and your chest stays up. Stand back up and repeat.
- Butt Kicks - Jog in place, kicking each heel up to touch your bottom.
- Tricep Dips - Place your hands on a chair, bench or low table with your back to the surface. Stick your legs straight out in front of you so you’re balancing on your heels and your palms. Bending from your elbows, lower as far as you can, then press up to the original position.
- Side Lunges - With your body weight in your heels and your toes pointing forward, step to the left and lunge laterally. Make sure your knee doesn’t bend over your toe. Alternate legs.
- Jumping Jacks - Start by standing up straight with your arms at your sides and your feet together. Jump out into a “star” position, with your arms fully extended in a V shape and your feet spread far apart. Repeat as fast as possible.
- Sit-Ups - Lay down on the ground with your knees bent. Being careful not to strain your neck, use your abdominals to sit up and bring your chest to your thighs. Lay back down and repeat as fast as possible.
It’s important to remember that each of the exercises should be done as fast as possible without compromising your form. Your heart rate should be around 80-90 percent of its maximum exertion, so you should be huffing and puffing! When you get tired, remind yourself that this workout is only thirty quick minutes and it only works if you push yourself. When you’re done, reward yourself with some hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate or whatever you’re craving to warm up. After all, it’s cold outside and working out in cold weather is no easy feat!