Health

Cold weather fitness

Motivate yourself to stay moving during the winter months

Do you bid fitness farewell once the cold weather and party season arrive? Most of us do. But come January, our “ho ho ho” turns into, “How the heck did I develop this spare tire?” While U.S. research found that most people gain less than one pound over the holidays, a small percentage gain five pounds or more. “Keeping active throughout the winter months helps maintain your level of fitness and mobility and reduces the potential for muscle strains and lower back problems due to inactivity,” says Sandy Rennie, spokesperson for the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. This year, beat the no-exercise cycle and subsequent holiday bloat with these five excuse busters.

Excuse #1: If I can’t do regular workouts, I might as well skip them altogether

Busted Among healthy people, even one or two bouts of exercise a week – burning about 1,000 calories in total – can lengthen your life compared to being sedentary, according to a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Click here for three easy strategies to help you find time for fitness.

Excuse #2: Fitness doesn’t fit into my holiday social schedule

Busted Organize a tobogganing or skating party and burn up to 300 calories an hour while having fun. For tips on gear, stretches and more, read Winter workouts. Afterwards, treat the gang to scrumptious low-calorie versions of your favourite treats, such as Thai spicy noodles and Baked chocolate molten puddings.

Excuse #3: There’s no point exercising until I lose some weight by dieting in the new year

Busted A recent University of Florida study found that activity lowers the risk of heart disease or stroke regardless of body weight. Check out your fitness level with our How healthy are you? quiz, then talk to your doctor. Just 10 to 20 minutes of activity can do your body good, so try our 15-minute workout today.

Excuse #4: It’s not smart to exercise in the cold

Busted Staying warm and well hydrated keeps your outdoor workout safe. Invest in sweat-wicking fabrics for sports bras, underwear and pants, and wear an insulating pullover or fleece top. (Skip cotton, which absorbs sweat and chills in the wind.) Top these off with a hat, scarf, mitts and a windbreaker with reflective strips that can be seen from every angle. Drink lots of water, make sure you’re never more than a kilometre away from shelter and check exposed skin regularly for frostbite—signalled by white, waxy or discoloured blue skin.

Excuse #5: I’m too tired to work out at this time of year

Busted Exercise is a proven energizer, sleep enhancer and mood lifter. According to research summarized by the Mayo Clinic, just 10 minutes of brisk walking can boost your mood and curb the urge to smoke or snack. For other healthy ways to save your sanity over the holidays, check out our Stress-free holiday countdown.