Winter weather may make you want to hole up inside with a hot cup of soup and a cozy sweater, but it’s not time to hibernate! Even though the temperatures have dropped, it’s still not too cold for some fun outdoor fitness activities. The fresh, crisp air will keep you alert and ready for action as you explore the outside world around you. Keep these tips in mind as you embark on your fitness journey, and make the most out of what Mother Nature has to offer this season.
1. Get Into Good Habits Right Away
After an exciting summer filled with plenty of outdoor fun, you may try to stay indoors when the chill of winter sets in. But this is actually a time you need to really concentrate on staying on track with good fitness habits. Get into the habit of partaking in outdoor fitness fun as soon as you can so you don’t get too comfortable inside. You can do this by cycling to work every day, taking walks on your lunch break, or even trying to always park far away in a parking lot for an extra little fresh air walk.
You may also find that getting into good habits now will keep you motivated throughout winter. An added bonus is that your good habits will help make you fully prepared for new year’s resolutions when they come around—which will be sooner than you think!
2. Protect Yourself And Your Skin
Another miscalculation regarding winter weather is the presumption that you cannot get sunburned when it’s cloudy or chilly outside. Unfortunately, many people make this mistake and forget the sunblock on cold winter days. Haven’t you seen skiers with goggle-shaped tan lines on their faces? It doesn’t matter what the temperature is; the sun is still sending its UV rays down, with even 80 percent of the harmful rays passing right through the clouds.
You’ll also want to dress in layers for those extra windy days. Keep an extra scarf, hat, sunglasses and umbrella in your bag to be prepared for any weather. You might as well throw a travel-sized lotion in your bag to help with any dry, cracking skin from the changing weather.
3. Find The Perfect Footwear For The Job
Depending on your outdoor activity, you will want to make sure you are keeping your feet healthy and happy. After all, the moment they are tired, blistered or injured is when you will have lost all momentum for going outdoors to stay fit. If you are considering picking up trail running as an exciting outdoor activity, don’t just use any old sneakers. Keep in mind that these shoes are not just taking care of your feet, but also the impact your joints withstand which can cause problems the whole way up your body. Treat your feet right and the rest will fall into place.
4. Try Something New
Again it is important to discuss habits. If you find yourself stuck in a rut or in a boring habit, try to spice things up a bit. Pick up a new activity or try an old activity. Did you love rollerblading or skateboarding when you were younger? Were you not allowed and always wanted to try? Well, good news: you’re an adult now and can do as you please! Pick up a new board or blades, and watch a few videos online for a quick refresher or to get started. Then head to a quiet park or walking area, and try out your new hobby!
It doesn’t matter your age or skill set, as long as what you’re doing is getting you outdoors, in the fresh air, to enjoy some physical fitness.
5. Partake In Activities That Can Be Moved Indoors
This might not sound like the point of outdoor fitness at all, but keep reading. Everyone knows that winter comes after fall. If ever there was a season to fall into bad habits, it is winter. So what activities did you participate in in the summer and fall that can be moved indoors for winter? One activity that can be done outside and inside is rock climbing.
Sure, climbing the real thing versus an indoor wall definitely gives a different effect, but at least you will not get into rock climbing just to be disappointed now it’s got too cold or icy outside to continue.
6. Take Advantage Of What Mother Nature Is Providing
Raking leaves might not sound like fun, but you will be hitting two things off your to-do list at once! Yard work has the potential to burn a lot of calories, with raking leaves burning 240 or more calories an hour. What a great way to clean up your yard and perhaps even help out an elderly neighbor by raking their yard, too.
If you don’t have a yard or any trees to mess up your yard, consider building a shed or finishing up some last-minute outdoor housework. When the day is coming to an end, you can take a walk to the nearest beautiful sunset viewing spot to really soak in what Mother Nature has to offer this season.
7. Join Outdoor Fitness Clubs
Nobody said fitness had to be a solo event. If you’re having a hard time juggling your social calendar with your fitness goals, perhaps you can put the two together! Many communities have social sports teams that inter-mix the teamwork and competitive nature of sports with social gatherings after games and practices. There are also community-sponsored outdoor events such as tai chi or yoga in public parks or even pick-up games of flag football or ultimate frisbee.
If joining a team isn’t your thing, you could always consider coaching Little League teams and helping out the community while staying active. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a good thing, especially if it’s helping you make new friends and giving you a good workout at the same time.
8. Stay Safe
Safety should always be kept in mind when participating in any outdoor activity. There are many unfortunate accidents that could be avoided if you just do a little extra planning and stay aware. If you’re out hiking, keep in mind that it gets dark earlier and earlier as the year comes to an end. If your outdoor activity is in a wooded area remember that the sun seems to disappear even earlier than the sunset time, due to the trees overhead. Plan ahead and begin your activity early enough to avoid any dark areas. If you are cycling or walking at night, be sure to use the proper lights on your bike and wear a reflective vest.
Stay warm, keep safe, and be sure to enjoy every bit of the beautiful winter days before they’re gone!