The winter months can be challenging for health enthusiasts. Take away the indulgent holiday foods, fattening winter cocktails and the cold, blistery inclement weather and devotees are still faced with icy running trails and the piping hot Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks. Sunshine and bathing suit season typically suffice as reason enough to lose weight in the summer, but maintaining these efforts are considerably more difficult when the thermometer drops. Below are 5 tricks to help carry summer success from one season to the next.
- The Cold Weather Workout: Maintaining workout schedules is vital to staying in shape, but outside exercisers should take precautions before venturing into the cold. “Dressing in layers, protecting your hands and feet, and paying attention to the forecast can help [exercisers] stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors in cold weather.” (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fitness/HQ01681). When working out in the wintertime, wind chill can be as important as temperature and the right footwear is crucial to safely maneuvering snowy and icy conditions.
- Staying Hydrated: People often fail to drink enough fluids during winter activities. The lack of sunshine coupled with the cold can inhibit the body’s natural thirst mechanisms, but the body can just as easily become dehydrated in cold weather as it does in warm. Drinking water pre, during and post workout will help prevent dehydration.
- The Hot Chocolate Trap: Cold weather activities often commence with warm cups of cocoa and spiced ciders, not to mention the decadent seasonal options at specialty coffee shops. But these drinks are laden with empty calories, saturated fat and unwanted sugar that can be detrimental to the waistline. Dieters should proceed with caution; indulging once or twice a month should satisfy the sweet-drink-tooth, and adding wintery spices like cinnamon or nutmeg can help spice up the daily cappuccino.
- Branch Out: A great way to stay fit is to engage in winter-only sports. Skiing and snowboarding are excellent exercises, but snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, and even shoveling snow are great calorie burners. “Snow, especially when it’s deep and heavy, adds resistance to…workouts when doing exercises” (http://www.fitsugar.com/Does-Exercising-Cold-Burn-More-Calories-20947057).
- Set Goals: One of the best ways for winter dieters to stay in shape is to set goals and stick to them, just as they would in the summer. Setting, tracking and working towards specific goals forces effort and encourages adherence to programs. It also helps reach the right mindset when facing challenging situations, like treat-filled holiday parties and 3 feet of snow.