There’s something about winter that just makes me want to curl up and hibernate with a candle, a blanket, and a cup of tea. And while I love R&R as much as the next person, I also know myself well enough to know that I feel my best when I’m moving my body consistently– especially during the winter. I’m a person that struggles with short, dark days and early sunsets. When I moved back home after college, I fell into a winter slump of eat, sleep, work, repeat. My mom noticed that I wasn’t myself, and suggested I start building movement into my winter routine. I quickly noticed a change in my mood and energy levels each day, and haven’t looked back since!
Read on for three ways to move your body even when the weather gets cold.
Have fun with snow-related activities.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with snow over the years. As a child, I used to jump with glee at the thought of “helping” my parents shovel, which turned into dread in my preteen/teen years. Now as an adult, I appreciate the opportunity to shovel as a way to get a unique workout in. I don’t know about you, but I’m sorest the morning after shoveling snow. I guess a few hours of hauling pounds of snow over my shoulder activates muscles I didn’t know I had.
Of course, skiing and snowboarding are also great snow-related exercise choices. But sledding should not be overlooked! Trekking uphill through the snow (and lugging a sled behind you) is a fantastic way to get your blood pumping and body moving on a winter day.
Get your steps in.
Walking has been proven to have a ton of health benefits. Set a goal for daily steps. If you live in a city (like I do) a 10,000-step goal is pretty realistic– but if not, 5 or 6,000 is a great place to start. If you usually go on coffee or breakfast dates with your friend, bundle up and grab it to-go! I’m always surprised at how much ground I cover when walking and talking with a friend. I remember one afternoon in particular when I clocked nearly 20,000 steps from a few hours catching up with a high school pal.
If your area is too cold to spend prolonged time outside, try walking around the mall or a museum. You can also sneak steps in by opting to take the stairs whenever you can, and purposely parking farther away from your location than usual.
Incorporate movement into your workday.
They say “sitting is the new smoking”, which is sort of depressing when I think about how much of my day is spent sitting. Especially at work! Because I work remotely (and live in a shoebox), I invested in an adjustable laptop stand or prop my laptop up on a countertop while I’m working.
If you’re in an office, talk to your manager about purchasing a standing desk converter.
I’ve also found it helpful to set a timer to do an exercise or stretch every hour during my workday. Flexibility is a 2023 goal of mine. It’s something I often overlook after a workout– I’m so tired (and usually hungry) so I’m eager to grab my things and leave the gym. However, I’m making an effort to stretch more, at the gym AND home, and I’m already noticing a difference in how my hamstrings feel. It’s been rewarding to notice how just a few minutes of effort each day can pay off over time. Baby steps!
Winter can be a time for rest and relaxation, but also rejuvenation. By making little changes to my routine and choices each winter, I find that the time passes much more quickly to spring.