When the weather is less than ideal, or you’re stuck inside for some other reason, it can be tough to get those steps in. The good news is that there are lots of ways you can get your steps in!
Don’t give up because you can still get those steps in. Make it fun and challenge yourself, or a friend, to get in as many steps as you can. The Fitbit app allows you to start and join challenges such as these and is an awesome way to keep that motivation alive! Or you can simply take a picture of your pedometer and post it on Facebook, send it to a friend you want to challenge, etc. Make it work for you and have fun with it!
Here are some of my favorite ways to get my steps in when I’m stuck indoors:
- Treadmill or elliptical: If you have access to one or both of these machines, they can be a wonderful way to get your steps in where it’s warmer and more comfortable. You can make it more interesting by listening to music, watching videos, creating a photo album on your phone of motivating pictures, or browsing Pinterest for inspiration!
- Pacing through your house or other indoor setting: This works anywhere you have the ability to walk back and forth. Your house, a game or other event your child has, while your children play indoors, etc. It can be done almost anywhere and almost anytime.
- Walking in place: Again this can work anywhere and anytime. You can walk in place while your children play nearby, while you watch an entertaining TV show or movie, while you listen to music, folding laundry, etc.
- Indoor walking videos: Leslie Sansone, on demand fitness videos, etc. Almost everyone has a walking video of some sort out these days. Even Biggest Loser has a Power Walking DVD.
- Store or mall walking: Walking the aisles of a store or walking cycles around a mall might be slower going unless they aren’t busy at the time, but is a great way to get those steps in while keeping warm and safe. Just try to avoid those food aisles if it’s too much temptation. Some good ideas where there isn’t much food for sale include home improvement stores, office supply stores, electronics stores, etc.
- Indoor walking tracks: These are not available everywhere, but typically in an area where weather is bad there should be at least one option. It could also be a mall that someone has mapped a route around or a high school gymnasium.
- Run after or play with the little ones in your life: If you have any young children in your life, simply chasing after them and/or playing with them can really give you a workout… and help you accumulate those steps!
- Dancing: You can dance anywhere. Not only does this get your heart rate up, but it also adds up to plenty of steps! The good news is that you don’t have to have any fancy dance moves for it. Just go with the flow and dance to your favorite music. Dance like no one’s watching, as the saying goes!
- Be inefficient as you go about your day: Take multiple trips to do housework or to get items you need from different areas of the house. Take clothing from your laundry basket to the washer one at a time, and then from the dryer to where you want to fold them one at a time. Carry in those groceries one bag at a time.
- Short walking bursts outdoors: Too cold to be outside more than 5-15 minutes? Walk to your nearest corner and back, or walk five minutes out and five minutes back. Go at your own pace and set a five-minute timer if you need to, so that you know when to turn back again. Short bursts outdoors should be okay and if that sun is shining, you are getting the added benefit of Vitamin D which is something many of us can lack in the winter!
This is Part 1 in a series about Winter Health and Fitness.
(And here is Part 2: “Winter Healthy Comfort Tips” if you want to check that out as well!)
Today I am bringing you winter fitness tips. It can be quite hard to continue your exercise plan as the weather gets colder and colder. You’re used to warm weather and being able to get out more. Now all of a sudden it’s dark earlier, cutting your available exercise time even shorter. Not to mention the chilly air and low temperatures. Those can really present a challenge for many of us.
- First of all, if you’re going to exercise outdoors, bundle up and layer your clothes too. I personally like to do a tee shirt, long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, and a coat when it’s super cold. Also try leggings under your pants, or use thermal underwear to wear under your clothes. Plus a hat, gloves, and scarf as necessary.
- Ideally you should get exercise clothes that wick away moisture (sweat) to keep you warmer. However, if you’re like me and even bundled up can’t manage to spend much time outside, regular clothes work just fine.
- If it’s icy outside, be extra careful. Shoes with good traction in the treads are necessary, maybe even good fitting snow boots specifically for walks in the snow/ice would be beneficial. Walking sticks might be a good option as well.
Now obviously you can choose to exercise indoors as well:
- Join a gym. If you want to and can afford it, this is a valid option. Weigh the pros and cons though. If you feel you really will go and will make it a priority, then invest. If not, then choose some alternative exercise options. You don’t want to waste money.
- Exercise videos: stock up on exercise videos that interest you, either physical DVDs/discs or online subscription, or even free services such as On Demand or YouTube!
- Dance around your house. You can do this anytime, with children or pets or some other loved one… or even by yourself! It’s very versatile. You can even dance with or without music. Let the moves just carry you away.
- Walking in place. You can do this almost literally anywhere. If you have pedometer or fitness tracker, set a goal for yourself… or set a time minimum instead. Use the timer on your phone to make sure you’re moving for a certain amount of time.
- Get more steps in everyday life. Be “inefficient.” Take extra steps to accomplish your daily chores in order to increase your activity. Instead of grabbing as much as you can to carry in one trip (such as laundry or grocery bags), take them one at a time. It adds up, trust me!
- Small equipment: Dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, hula hoops, mini trampoline, step up stool, a small stepper, and sometimes even a stationary bike are smaller and take up less room to store in your house except at times of use.
- Clean or organize! You can certainly work up quite a sweat and get your heartrate up just by cleaning and organizing your house. Clean and organize in stages if necessary, but use the things you don’t do on a daily or weekly basis as exercise! Plus all extra activity is a great idea and good for your health! It’s hard work physically and you also get the added bonus of a clean and orderly house!
- Mall walking. Grab a friend to go walking around the mall just to get your walking in… or even go by yourself! Depending on the size of your mall, you can get quite a few steps in just walking a couple loops!
There you have it, some tips to at least get you started and/or get the mental juices flowing.
Do you have a plan for winter exercise? If so, what is it? If not, do these tips help you?
Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home workout videos have been a favorite of mine since I discovered them in 2009. They have been a great tool in helping me lose weight this time around as well since they are low impact and allow me to exercise indoors when I need to. I started using her DVDs by checking them out from my local library and alternating them every two weeks until I was finally able to buy my own. At that point I bought two of her DVDs and also ended up finding the one of hers that I had originally used (it’s funny how that works out huh?).
I just love her workouts because she is like a cheerleader, but not annoying about it. I love her encouraging words while doing the workouts in my living room and often will find myself answering or responding to her while I’m exercising! I just love her energy and enthusiasm! It’s clear she loves what she’s doing and she loves helping whoever is using her videos. I also really like how she involves the women she has in her videos and chats with them as they’re exercising. It makes me feel like it’s all some big group and we’re all working together.
Well, recently I saw someone posting about her walk challenge on another website and it got me curious. Why hadn’t I thought to like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter before? So I did just that and am inspired that she is still very actively involved with her fans and following! This challenge is a great example of that and you can walk outside, indoors, wherever to get your walking in!
Here is one of her Tweets from today regarding the challenge:
Leslie is truly inspiring in more ways than one. She has made fitness and healthy living a way of life for herself and is spreading this love to others! If you’ve never checked out one of her videos, I encourage you to check out a video on YouTube if you can find one. Some of them get deleted quite often, but if you try it and like it you can always buy a DVD on Amazon or eBay for a low price!
If you would also like to follow Leslie Sansone on her pages, here is her Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeslieSansone and here is her Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeslieWalks. Also just to be thorough, if you want to check out her actual website, you can find that here: http://www.walkathome.com/.
I hope you like her workouts (and her) as much as I do. I truly don’t know where I would be without her workout videos helping me get started and continue on my weight loss journey. For comparison, I have tried other walking videos and also regularly use the On Demand walking videos from XFINITY but I still prefer Leslie’s over all else and so do many other people!
Why I love walking as a form of exercise… It may not be an intense workout, but it gives me a whole lot of mental benefits!
#1: I’m FREE! Free, free as a bird! Quite simply, it gives me a break from my crazy, chaotic house. Sometimes it is too overwhelming and noisy to be at home and I need a serious breather!
#2: I can finally… think! If you have small children in your house, you know how truly hard it is to have any coherent thoughts! My walking (or any exercise where I don’t have a child interrupting me every other second), is a chance to have clear thoughts, what I call my “profound” thoughts. Now if I retain whatever profound thoughts I had by the time I finish and return to the craziness is a discussion for another day!
#3: Nature, beautiful nature. I love admiring the trees, grass, and other plants. Not to mention the ever entertaining creatures. Squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, and birds can certainly be really entertaining and just plain beautiful to look at sometimes!
#4: Fresh air and sunshine. Sure this actually falls under the “nature” category, however I think it deserves its very own listing. I love the fresh air and sunshine. As long as the heat or humidity is not suffocating me, these two things are refreshing and invigorating!
#5: Variety in routes and length. Never a dull moment if you can change your routes day-to-day, and also challenge yourself to hit certain distances.
There you have it, a simple list as to why walking is still one of my favorite forms of exercise after almost a year and a half of healthy living.
What is your favorite form of exercise and why?