How to stay fit in the winter

man running in winter

The cold winter months sometimes make it harder to stick to an exercise plan. The daylight hours are shorter, and the desire to put it off for another day is all too tempting. This year, due to restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things have been made even tougher with the closure of indoor gyms and leisure centres. 

Despite the barriers in place, maintaining a healthy winter exercise routine can be a lot easier than you may think. Performing regular exercise is essential for both your health and wellbeing. Here at Rieker, we’ve put together some top tips on how to stay fit in the winter, to be the healthiest version of yourself, and balance out those over indulgences, we all enjoy during the festive time. 

1. Make winter fitness goals

Make winter exercise goals you wish to achieve; this way you’re more likely to succeed.  Remember these goals are personal to you and your fitness level. Whether you train for a marathon, or walk the dog that little bit further,  you need to make goals that are relative to you and your fitness levels. We would recommend writing them down, or downloading a fitness tracker to your phone, this way you can see your achievements in front of you, and you’ll be more likely to push yourself more. Here are a few options to help you get started: 

  • Map my run.
  • Fitness Buddy.
  • Runkeeper.
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Runtastic. 

2. Warm-up first

warming up

Warming-up is essential before any kind of exercise, but it’s especially important to prepare for cold-weather workouts. Warm-ups increase blood flow which helps prevent the risk of injury. 

Think of your body like a rubber band; it can easily snap. Warm it up, and it’s much less likely to fray. 

The best warm-ups are those that mimic the type of exercise you plan to perform. These need to be low-intensity, not intense. 

The most effective warm-ups for running or hiking might include bodyweight lunges, squats, arm swings and other core activation work. 

Attention: Don’t confuse warming up with static, bend-and-hold stretch movements. These are to be performed after a workout, not before. Indoor workouts

3. Indoor workouts

indoor workouts

There are plenty of ways you can stay active and warm indoors without having to brave the cold. The most important part is finding something that you enjoy, if you’re having fun, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Clear a space in your home big enough to complete body-weighted exercises. Don’t forget some motivational music to keep you going. 

Here are a few indoor fitness activities you can try: 

  • Join an online fitness class. (This can be a great social activity too) 
  • Take part in a YouTube yoga class.
  • Purchase some dumbbells, weights and resistance bands for your home and follow a guided tutorial and regime online.
  • Work out with a dance class or Zumba video.
  • Run up and down your stairs. (Sprint a few or perform jumping jacks in between to raise intensity) 
  • Perform cardiovascular exercises such as star jumps, burpees, squats, and rocket jumps. (There are several daily exercise routines available online
  • Invest in a trampet. 
  • Dance. (Less structure, more fun – turn up the volume and let go) 
  • HITT workouts. 

4. Make the most of the outdoors

outdoor walking

While indoor workouts can be beneficial, getting some fresh air is valuable for both your physical and mental health.  Wrapping up and taking in the natural scenery around you can really boost your mood, especially if you spend the majority of your working day indoors, or working from home. Here are some outdoor winter exercises you may want to try: 

  • A winter woodland walk.
  • A light jog or run. 
  • A challenging hike. 
  • Ice skating, or ice hockey at an outdoor rink.
  • Sledging. (Snow permitted) 
  • Outdoor workout circuit.
  • Park-bench dips, push-ups 
  • Mountain biking.
  • Cross-country skiing. (Depending on travel restrictions)

5. Don’t make time an excuse

We’re all guilty of making time our excuse for not getting out and exercising, especially in the winter. No matter how busy your schedule is, there are plenty of small exercises you can fit into your everyday life. Instead of using a lift or escalator, opt for the stairs. If you’re going shopping or to work, park your car away from the building to increase your step count. You could even set up an exercise bike, and pedal while you catch up on your favourite television series. 

6. Treat yourself to some new gym clothes or outdoor trainers

If you enjoy running or walking outside then some new warm insulating gym gear will keep you motivated on those colder winter nights. 

  • Dress dry, not just warm

The quickest way we lose body heat is by getting wet. Wet clothing from rain or snow,  will quickly make you chilled and unmotivated. Ditch activewear made from cotton and opt for synthetic fibres, such as polyester nylon and polypropylene instead. These are designed to dry quickly, as they wick away moisture much faster than cotton.

  • Layer up 

When it comes to layering up for a winter workout, you need to start with a thin synthetic layer, followed by a middle layer such as a polar fleece for extra warmth. Finish with waterproof outer layers. This will protect you from the wind, snow and rain. 

  • Be seen

As well as being a lot colder, it can be a lot darker in winter too. Overcast skies and poor visibility from rain can make it harder for others to see you. Wearing brightly coloured clothing will help passing motorists, for example, spot you. When running or walking at night consider reflective gear or blinking lights. You may even want to wear a flashlight to help prevent falls or missteps. 

  • Protect your extremities

Your toes, fingers, ears and nose are likely to be the most affected by chilly temperatures. Wear a hat, headband, thick socks and gloves. Again, these should be made of wool or synthetics fabrics, rather than cotton to keep sweat off the skin. 

  • Appropriate footwear  

Winter workouts can be slippery if any rain, snow or ice is involved, so wearing inappropriate footwear could lead to injury or strain on your joints. 

As well as keeping your feet warm, you need to ensure your footwear has a strong and sturdy grip, the last thing you want is to fall on cold, hard ground. What you need is shoes with soles that have a grippy surface to keep you stable. 

Whether you like walking, jogging, or simply enjoying the outdoors, then the right footwear can make all the difference to your experience. Our men’s trainers and ladies’ trainers, here at Rieker, are designed to provide flexibility, stability and maximum comfort. 

Rieker trainers not only look great, but they are also extremely long-lasting and crafted with signature antistress and anti shock technology. Utilising high-quality lightweight and elastic components, Rieker antistress trainers eliminate pressure points, absorb shocks and keep a spring in your step while exercising.

7. Keep hydrated

  • Drink water 

It’s natural not to feel as thirsty after a cold-weather workout, but you’re still losing as many fluids as you would during a summer workout through sweat. You need to ensure you replace these fluids by drinking plenty of water. 

  • Protect your skin 

The winter air can be so drying for your skin. Ensure you apply plenty of moisturising cream or lotion, showing particular attention to the tip of your nose and ears. Choose an SPF with UV protection, as these harmful rays can even damage your skin on a cloudy day.

To block out cold winds, keep your face covered with a scarf or running mask. 

If you’re skiing or snowboarding, apply sunscreen with SPF 30, at least. 

8. Think about your breathing technique

In cold weather, it’s natural for your airway passages to narrow, making inhalation more difficult. Breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth, can help warm and humidify the air. We know that’s not always easy when partaking in vigorous exercises and breathing heavily, so you may want to wrap a scarf or another thin fabric layer around your mouth to trap water vapour when you breathe in and out. Remember to keep this nice and slack; you still need to be able to breathe naturally.  

winter activities

So there you have it, no reason to hibernate throughout the winter months. There are plenty of ways to keep fit during winter, by staying active and exercising regularly. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. However, depending on your health, even just 10 minutes of movement or exercise a day can help improve your mood, help with weight loss, and increase your heart health. (Providing you eat a healthy balanced diet).  

Don’t forget to check out our men’s trainers and ladies’ trainers, here at Rieker, where you’ll find lightweight trainers that provide: 

  • Optimum shock absorption on varied surfaces.
  • Maximum flexibility.
  • Design that allows space for feet to expand throughout the day. 
  • Luxurious comfort.
  • On-trend looks.

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