Keeping Your Body Fit During Winter With These 4 Great Exercise Alternatives
When the temperatures begin to drop and the storms hit more frequently, it is safer to stay indoors as often as possible to ensure you don’t end up getting sick. So what does that mean for hikers, park runners, swimmers and surfers who still want to continue with their desired form of exercise but can’t risk exposing themselves to the elements? Being an enthusiastic hiker myself, I tend to struggle this time of year. Thankfully, here are fun fitness alternatives that we can all consider if we want to stay active during this season.
IF YOU LIKE TO RUN OR CYCLE
Consider signing up to your local gym. Not only will this serve as a safe place to do your morning exercise during winter – since the sun rises a little later and sets much earlier – but once you have a membership, you can pop in whenever the weather isn’t conducive to your choice of cardio. The treadmill can get quite monotonous if you’re used to being distracted by street signs and dog walkers. What I tend to do is focus on a fixed point, whether it be a smudge on the wall or a number of the clock, and let my mind wander from there.
Swap out the stationary bike for a spinning session. The interval training structure might take a little getting used to, but the energy is always so invigorating during a spin class so you will definitely love it in no time.
IF YOU ARE A SWIMMER
Apart from shopping around for an indoor swimming pool, you can visit on a regular basis, I would suggest yoga as an adequate alternative. You might appreciate that many have misconceptions about your form of exercise – I know I didn’t think yoga would be nearly as grueling on my body when I started, but my toned thighs are happy I stuck it through – the same can be said of swimming.
Yoga is a full-body workout, which is something swimmers are all too familiar with. The level of intensity depends on the type of yoga you want to pursue (Ashtanga, Hatha, Bikram, Iyengar, etc) so take your time finding a discipline that will work with your body. Join a class as opposed to buying a workout video, just because a trained instructor will ensure you don’t hurt yourself in the beginner’s stages. You’ll come to appreciate how yoga will improve your posture and breath control – two vital components of swimming.
IF YOU SURF
There are four surfers in my inner circle; I get that it isn’t just a form of exercise but rather a lifestyle. Unfortunately, when a storm is brewing and waves are swelling to double their size – that lifestyle needs to be traded for exercise that is safer.
Spend the three winter months improving your flexibility and endurance with some pilates. There are classes cater made to help you with your perfect your pelvic alignment and sort out your spinal structure.
You’ll be learning how to move your body in a healthy balanced way, strengthening your core for those quick springs to your feet, and getting a decent amount of cardio done at the same time
IF YOU ENJOY HIKING
What I’ve come to appreciate about hikers is that they are fairly adventurous. It’s easy enough to go walking along the Emmarentia Lake, but the thrill of traversing a hiking trail to enjoy a spectacular view from the summit is a key selling point. Use the opportunity as a kind of palate cleanser, by substituting a weekend hike with some indoor wall-climbing. This strength and cardio combo is one you’re certainly used to if you’re regularly jumping up and down the boulders of Lion’s Head, but now you can enjoy the same thrill from the comfort of a rock-climbing center.
You’ll be engaging a lot more core and upper-body strength than you might be used to. Keep at it and you’ll be scaling the walls in no time.
Though we do nest during winter, human beings aren’t hibernators. Your fitness will inform your vitality this season, so it is important that you exercise in some form or another. Remember to complement your regular exercise with a balanced diet and healthy work routine, and you’ll find yourself winterproofing your lifestyle effortlessly.