You might think I’m about to tell you I was out exercising in the fresh fallen snow early last Sunday morning with a group of enthusiastic gals, but I’m not going to tell you that. The truth is….
….I was thoroughly enjoying a typical Sunday morning, lounging in mushy jammies with a steaming mug of strong, black java, updating client profiles, planning posts and skimming Facebook. My heaven~
This particular Sunday I gazed out the windows and was mesmerized by a wild wind that was whipping up frosty snow swirls over the ominously ice-grey lake. My thoughts? “There’s no place like home.”
As I scrolled through Facebook, a friend’s post caught my eye. This idyllic scene; a beautiful photo of a motivated bunch of girls strolling through a refreshing winter morning. Wow.
I pointedly looked to see when it was posted and was surprised to find it had been added only minutes prior. In that swirling snow. This group of gals were taking a Winter Walk!
How incredibly awesome was that? (It was practically a blizzard outdoors.) Kudo’s girls!
While I’m not likely to give up my Sacred Sunday ritual, I was curious to review the benefits of exercising outside, even in the cold.
We all know it’s tough to find motivation to exercise (ANY day) let alone outside on a frigid day. During the work week most of us begin and end our days in utter darkness tinged with a frosty chill. The winter sunshine is appreciated but it’s not all that enticing when it barely warms up the day. We’re compelled to stay indoors, find warmth and forget about fitness until the spring thaw.
But for some, like the girls who were out walking on that frosty morning, outdoor activity is preferable to a crowded, stuffy gym and I was pretty impressed and inspired by their tenacity and spirit! Ballsy babes!
A Doctor of Natural Medicine and a Personal Fitness Strategist agree.
My sister-in-law, Rosemarie, was one of those Winter Warriors. Later that same evening we had the opportunity to talk about exercising outdoors, even when it’s cold. Rosemarie is Doctor of Natural Medicine, owner of Infinite Healing and an incredibly intuitive healer.
We agreed that cold weather training can be a perfect opportunity to increase the benefits of exercise, health and longevity. Here are the reasons we felt were most important:
You can burn more calories.
The body works hard to regulate core temperature in the cold, you’ll burn more calories during a wintry outdoor workout compared to one indoors.
Overall calorie burn will vary with each person’s body mass and the extremity of the temperature, but it’s a great perk to burn a few more without the extra sweat and effort.
You can strengthen your heart.
Cold weather makes your heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. A regular exerciser with good cardiovascular endurance can strengthen their heart with cold-weather sessions. You’ll be ready for more strenuous workouts in the future. (Non-exercise stresses too!).
You can build a tolerance for the frigid season.
It’s damn hard to force yourself outside for the first walk/workout of the winter season but over time it gets easier. Adjust your expectations as you acclimate rather than push for your typical “good-weather” training levels. Pay attention to your effort as opposed to hitting certain time, distance or other performance goal. Learn to enjoy the process.
You can get a good dose of vitamin D.
Even when it’s cold, the extra sun exposure will supply you with the same important nutrients as it does during warmer seasons. The benefit feels like “more” in the winter because natural light is already so restricted.
You can feel energized and happier.
Cold-weather exercise will boost your mood. There’s no humidity to drag you down and the chill is stimulating. As the body works hard to stay warm, more endorphins are produced which leaves you feeling a strong sense of happiness – you’ll feel younger!
You should embrace the winter months.
- Find a group of friends to kick your butt into gear.
- Take the kids tubing and strive to keep up.
- Get out your ancient ice skates and give them a twirl.
- Rent some snowshoes, go for a walk with them on.
- Organize a Pond hockey league!
- Learn to Curl
- Just get out and walk!
Make fitness a bigger part of your life by extending your workouts to outside the gym while doing something fun. Exercising in the cold weather is going to make you hot! (yep I just said that, cheesy I know!)
Get inspired. Get geared up. Get prepared. Plan your next adventure.
Winter activities can be as simple as organizing a walk with the girls or gathering the family for a skate. With bit of travel you could find Winter Snow Tubing in the country. It may take some research but you could perhaps find Snowshoeing at local golf course, winery or through a pretty wooded estate. Ski weekends, sledding afternoons, snow angels moments…..even shoveling can be a fun and beneficial. Really!
Here, (in the Niagara Region of Ontario and Western New York) there are tons of opportunities to get out and you just need to do that – get outside!
Do something you’ve never done before and you’ll get a life you’ve never had before.
My personal favorite-Winter runs with Mack: This guy is the best workout partner I’ve ever had! Can you imagine keeping up with that!
<————– Happy, happy happy Bulldog~
Anyway….you get the idea.
Get out of that lazy-boy recliner before you begin to look like one! Fresh air and exercise will take care of many health concerns and you’re just going to be happier. That, and you’ll be away from the fridge!
Have a fantastic winter and promise me you’ll get out and play! ~karen
About the Author
Hi! I’m Karen Pilote – My job title (I suppose) is “Personal Trainer” but lately I’m liking the term “Personal Fitness Strategist.” I help people find unique and individual strategies for implementing fitness into their lives. I’m skilled at making plans for achieving a goal, and I’m good at forming strategies (which is OH SO (so!) important when we’re talking about fitness.
One size programs do not fit all and one (rigid) plan will not suffice for the long term. Your weight-loss journey’s going to follow a winding road; face it. It will be a mountainous climb at times; prepare for it. It will bumpy ride for most of the trip; buckle up. But you can do it; believe it!
Honestly, it’s going to be confusing and you’ll need the support of an intuitive guide to help trouble shoot the challenges along the way. That’s me!
Sure, I can send you a program, tell you what to eat, explain and teach you the exercises but lot’s of people can do that for you – actually, you can find it all on the internet.
But I excel at tuning into what you’re feeling. My strength lies in understanding your confusion and fetching you back when you’re lost. I’m supportive when you’re disillusioned and I’m sure of your success even when you’re not.
Failure is not an option and I’ll never let you quit on yourself! I believe in you and I see what you can be- I will teach you to find that person and bear the challenges with some cursing and chuckling along way.
My workouts are found on Get Fit Over 40 – Pinterest. Free. I’m sure you’ll find them challenging and unique. For the most valuable use of the boards and cardio routines it’s best to set goals and follow the general plan outlined in The Action Plan.
I’m on Facebook Page Karen Pilote – Get Fit Over 40 for daily motivation and light-hearted humor and inspiration. (At least I like to think so, lol) See you there!