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Stay Physically Active This Winter
Whether it’s the biting cold or the dark and gloomy mornings, gathering the motivation to get yourself active and moving in the winter months is a challenge. Inconveniently, it’s also the time when we need it the most. With an estimated 10 million Americans affected by Seasonal Activity Disorder each year, routine exercise — even for less than 30 minutes — can immediately improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Here are a few approaches you can take to help keep yourself physically active this winter.
Find an Exercise Friend or Fitness Group
When it comes to health and exercise, social accountability can go a long, long way in helping you stick to any routine.
A recent study found that 95% of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76% completion rate for those who tackled the program solo.
Having that accountability from a friend or group doesn’t only make hitting that snooze button tougher to do, it’s also an excellent way to keep motivation and performance levels up. Working with a partner, especially in a team environment, has been shown to double the workout time of those who exercised alone.
Change up Your Routine for the Winter
Whatever exercise obstacle you find yourself facing this winter, you should be able to navigate around it by adjusting your routine.
If it’s a lack of morning or afternoon light that’s holding you back, see if you can find some time during lunch to fit in a quick workout. If you find yourself sliding into a pair of warm pajamas rather than your workout gear when you get home, consider joining a gym near your work and head straight there afterward.
Another approach to consider, especially for cardiovascular exercise, is to swap your summer workouts for some that work better in the colder months. Here are a few ideas:
- Hit the swimming pool
- Try out spin classes if you’re an avid biker
- Swap in squash for tennis
- Utilize indoor rowing machines to maintain
Try Supplements that Boost Your Immune System and Energy Levels
Cold, brittle winters mean flu season. Staying active while constantly under the weather is nearly impossible to do. That’s why it’s essential to keep your immune system healthy and your energy levels up, which select supplements can help with. Here are a couple we recommend:
A healthy immune system is critical to your health. Your body relies on your immune system to identify and destroy pathogenic invaders, such as the harmful viruses and bacteria so prevalent during the cold and flu season.
Vitamin D plays a critical role in keeping your immune system functioning properly. One of the most common symptoms of deficiency is an increased risk of illness or infections. With the lack of sun exposure during the winter months, your skin may not be producing enough vitamin D your body needs.
The symptoms for vitamin D deficiency are usually subtle but can lead to significant mental and physical health difficulties, so it’s important to stay on top of it.
Remind Yourself Often Why It’s Important
Always remind yourself why it is you’re exercising in the first place. Regular exercise is one of the most important ways to improve your longevity and mental health, decreasing the risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
If nothing seems to work for you, try getting a little creative. Here are a few ideas:
- Optimize your morning alarm. Choose a song that gets you moving or think of ways to it more difficult to sleep through your alarm.
- If you can, schedule your thermostat. For early-morning workouts, program your thermostat in the morning to make that warm-to-cold transition smoother.
- Try out an at-home workout routine. Free-weights and a resistance band are nearly all you need for a great workout.
Find the motivation wherever you can to stick to your routine -- you’ll thank yourself later!
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