Many people seem to struggle with weight gain in the winter. Biologically, we as mammals are designed to eat more in the autumn months when the harvest is bountiful. Our bodies also tend to hang on to extra adipose tissue (body fat) for warmth. Plus, it’s easy to become inactive when it’s bitter cold outside, and traditional “winter” dishes are generally hearty and calorie rich. Weight gained over the winter is not always easy to shed when it warms up, leaving people feeling bloated and lacking energy. Fight the bulge this winter with some of the following tips:
There’s a winter sport for every fitness level. If you live in a region where downhill skiing or snowboarding is available to you, take advantage of it for better fitness! According to Livestrong.com, a 155 pound individual can burn 350-560 calories an hour while downhill skiing. Skiing can help you burn even more calories if you’re heavier than that or if you ski at a high intensity level. Winterfeelsgood.com estimates that a person between 110 and 200 pounds can burn between 250 and 630 calories an hour while casually snowboarding. Downhill sports like skiing and snowboarding are recommended for individuals who are already in fairly good physical shape, as they require flexibility and balance.
Cross country snow skiing is a huge calorie-burner! Nutristrategy.com states that for a 155 pound person, moderate cross-country skiing can burn around 563 calories an hour. This kind of skiing can end up being less expensive than downhill skiing, as you don’t have to pay for lift tickets or ski passes every time you want to engage in the activity. Cross country skiing can be down in a slow, moderate way or in an aggressive, rigorous way, so this activity can be tailored to your fitness level.
Nutristrategy also estimates that a 155 pound individual can burn 563 calories an hour by snowshoeing. You can match snowshoeing to your fitness level by choosing a trail with the appropriate level of difficulty for you.
Hit the Gym!
It may sound simple, but most peoples’ New Year’s gym-going resolutions start to taper off toward the end of February. Don’t be one of those people! If the gym is getting old, try switching to a new program or signing up for a few personal training sessions. Some gyms will give you a session or two for free, and it’s a great way to learn about new exercises that can help you meet your fitness goals. 3 sessions a week at 40 minutes a session is a good goal to strive for, and will keep you looking fit and feeling great!
Slippery roads or snow storms might seem like good excuses to get out of going to the gym. However, it’s hard to justify skipping your workout altogether when it’s really easy to do a challenging workout at home! Even with limited space, you can do circuit training that will definitely have you feeling the burn. Give yourself a time limit – 15, 20, or 25 minutes depending on your fitness level. Set your timer and keep moving for the entirety of that time! Choose 3 body resistance, cardio, or light weight-lifting exercises and do as many rounds as possible within that time frame at 5-10 reps an exercise. Here is an example workout for someone at a moderate fitness level:
Set your timer for 20 minutes and go!
10 mountain climbers
Do as many rounds of these exercises as possible until your timer goes off. Take a moment to breathe between exercises if you need to but try to keep moving. If at any point you can’t complete the number of reps for any exercise, do as many as you can and then move on to the next exercise.
Staying active this winter will help you fight the winter blues and keep you looking good! These are just a few examples of great winter activities. You could also run a winter 5K or bundle up and go for daily walks. If you’re worried about whether or not you’re fit enough for a certain activity, consult your doctor before starting a new fitness program.