It occurred to me as the weather started getting cooler that poor bears were starting to eat and put on fat getting ready to hibernate for the winter….and so do we. Have you noticed that all our good eating holidays are in the winter, when the air gets colder, nights get longer, and we have the urge to eat? Think “turkey”. And I’m in there with the best of ’em.
It’s hard to get motivated to work out in the winter. I mean, who wants to get out into the cold and go at it? Well, I can give you a few reasons how working out in the winter can really help you as well as some reasons why we tend to put on some pounds during this season.
First, the seemingly looong periods of dark can get oppressive. Exercise releases endorphins the help elevate your mood and it really improves your outlook. I know that there are times I *really* don’t want to work out. I know intellectually that I always feel great when I’m finished, so I hang on to that to get me moving…and am always glad I did, even if it’s a light workout.
Second, watch out for the warm, comfort foods that come with winter. Pasta, bread, warm sticky-buns, and hot cocoa or chocolate are so wonderfully good when it’s cold out. They’re also very high in carbohydrates and certain fats that aren’t good for you. We don’t get the good, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables we do in the summer months, but we can still get fresh vegetables . Vegetables are higher in fiber and can fill you up more than some of those high fat/carb comfort foods — especially empty ones. Don’t get me wrong, carbohydrates can be good for you, but if you eat more than you burn, the extra will become fat. Eating the fresh vegetables makes you feel less lethargic as well and helps you get to whatever movement program you have on the agenda.
You may have heard that working out in the cold will burn extra calories and it’s true…to a degree. Shivering burns quite a few extra calories, but you don’t want to dress inappropriately for the cold just to burn a few extra. Now, that said, if you do hiking, running, walking, or skiing in the snow, you’re working pretty hard to maneuver through that extra substance, which will require more calorie burn. If it’s snowy or icy outside, running can be dicey. I have some friends, though, that told me about Yaktrax Ice Grips that just slip over your shoes and stay there during a run, walk, or hike in ice and snow. Check them out online. I wouldn’t try to use them skiing, though.
Another thing that works against you in the winter is wearing bulky clothes. I LOVE big sweaters. However, we tend to hide behind those big, bulky clothes and let our bodies languish. Wear something a little more fitting, even if its camisole or fitted undershirt so that you’re aware of your body under all those clothes.
Enjoy your winter! Since you don’t have the heat to make you lethargic and difficult to work out, take advantage of the cooler temps to work hard and look great when spring arrives!! Don’t wait until New Year’s Day. Work out now and you don’t feel so guilty about that holiday eating!!!