Kyndall Truett, ACSM-CPT, ACSM/ACS-CET
People from up north – or Floridians who have recently moved here from colder climates – may roll their eyes, but the winter months can get pretty chilly in the Sunshine State. Cold enough, in fact, that many people who stay active when the weather’s nice, cut way back on their exercise routines at this time of year.
It’s understandable. When the temperature is in the 80s, it’s easy to throw on a T-shirt and shorts then head outside for a walk or a jog. But what if the temperature is in the 50s? Sure, it may take a few extra minutes to plan and get ready, but cooler temperatures are no reason to abandon your physical regimen.
Here are 3 great ways to motivate yourself even when there’s a chill in the air.
Find an Activity You Enjoy — Even in the Cold
You hear all the time that simply walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can participate in. It’s fairly easy on your feet, ankles, knees and hips and, if you walk fast enough, you can even get your heart rate up. However, if you don’t pick an interesting route, it can be a little boring. Find a route that takes you through a city park or even a nature preserve with trails where you can see interesting birds and plants. And in Florida, you can play golf all year round, which is a great way to stay active. If you still feel like you just can’t stand the cold, drive to a large mall and walk from one end to the other a few times. Just stay away from the food court!
Find an Indoor Location to Exercise
A fitness club can offer many types of exercise, including both strength training and cardio. If you like to swim, look for a place that has an indoor lap pool. Or consider dedicating a small space in your house or apartment as your “home gym.” And while you can purchase all kinds of expensive equipment if you want to, it’s not necessary. Elastic resistance bands cost less than $20 and you can do many types of strength training exercises with them. You also can do sit-ups and pushups with no equipment at all and get in a great workout!
Find a Friend to Work out with
Even if you’re only walking, it’s more fun and the time goes by faster if you’re talking while you walk. That’s true for just about any type of exercise. Plus, when you’re working out with a friend, you motivate each other not to skip workouts and even push each other to walk faster or do a few more reps on the weight machine. Another great way to make your exercise a little more social is to participate in team sports. Whether it’s soccer, basketball, softball or ultimate Frisbee, you’ll get a great workout in and have a lot of fun doing it!
Exercising in Colder Temperatures
When you’re exercising in colder temperatures, remember that it’s even more important to stretch both before and after your workout. Otherwise, you might pull a muscle and wouldn’t be able to do much until you completely recover. Also, because the air is less humid in the winter, your sweat evaporates quickly and you may barely notice it. But that doesn’t mean you’re not sweating, so make sure you stay hydrated.