Winter is here, which means, depending on which part of the world you live in, it’s likely very, very cold outside. But those frigid temps aren’t just for cuddling under blankets — the cold air and crisp sunshine of winter offers the perfect opportunity to get outside. That’s right, get outside. While you might be tempted to hibernate under a pile of pillows and cozy throws a la hygge — the nordic mega-trend of embracing coziness and comfort — opting outdoors during the coldest months could be of major benefit to your physical and emotional wellbeing.
We all know that fresh air is good for us, even when that fresh air is only 20 degrees. Exposure to sunlight, the natural source of essential vitamin D, has been shown to potentially ease symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and boost mood, while regular exercise is a surefire way to improve sleep, energy and overall wellbeing – aspects of health that are worth fine-tuning all year ‘round. While many of us think of summer as the ideal time to craft a new fitness routine, making friends with winter sports and striving through those cold months can help build endurance and a rock-solid workout ritual. Ready to add some variety to your winter routine?
#1 — Try something new (or new-ish)
Winter sports offer a break from the typical routine of the treadmill or weight room, helping your body move differently and allowing you to discover all that winter has to offer beyond colder temperatures and snow (or rather, because of colder temperatures and snow). Maybe you’ve always wanted to try snowboarding, or perhaps you’ve been telling yourself you “hate” cross-country skiing for the past 20 years — most of us have that one winter sport we either think we don’t enjoy or there’s one we’ve always wanted to try — this winter, why not give it a go? You may surprise yourself with a new-found hobby and a deeper appreciation for cold weather. Just be sure to dress appropriately — invest in a solid base layer, wool socks and sturdy gloves. With the right equipment, you can make a run on a 20 degree day feel like a walk in a summery park
#2 — Get to class
More of an indoor type when the flurries fly? Winter is a great time to gather a group of friends and hit the mat… or barre… or bike! If your city offers ClassPass, the service is a great way to try out different classes at an affordable rate. If not, check out your local gyms and studios for new member or new year specials that allow you to test out classes while you find your faves — all within a temperature controlled environment (because even the heartiest winter-lover needs an indoor day every now and then).
Classes offer another great break from routine and can help you get out and socialize during a season when many of us find ourselves hibernating a bit too much (the couch is cozy but we’re not bears). If you still want to get outdoors but need a bit more guidance on the slopes, check out what’s offered at your local outdoor retailer, mountain or school to learn the ins and outs of snowshoeing, skiing and more.
#3 — Make a date
Is the same old date night of dinner-and-a-movie feeling stale? Are you tired of meeting friends for coffee or cocktails? Instead of relying on the same-old-thing for your get-togethers, make a fitness date instead. Head out for a wintertime hike with your bestie or schedule some quality time with your sweetheart at your favorite yoga class.
Want to meet new people? Create a winter run club and end each run at a new location (brunch or breweries are always a hit). Winter offers the perfect opportunity to not only change up your fitness routine, but your everyday routine as well. Bundle up and head to the beach for a brisk walk — with a thermos of hot chocolate as your reward, or lace-up your ice skates and come up with an (almost) Olympics-worthy routine.
So many of us stick to routines we’re not even aware of (date night on Friday, cocktails with your friends on Saturdays), that we don’t make room for the possibility to change things up. By embracing a new season and what it has to offer, you might just discover an opportunity to grow closer to your friends or significant other while you get some much-needed movement.
How are you challenging yourself this winter? Share your winter fitness tips with us on social by tagging us @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenMagazine