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Staying fit during the winter? Challenge accepted. Unless you’re blessed with Florida’s or California’s eternal sunshine (don’t we all wish), cold weather and snow are just another part of life. Don’t let less-than-optimal weather get you or your fitness down. Instead, give yourself an extra motivational boost. Here are some ways you can stay interested in being healthy this winter.
Research says grabbing a fitness buddy is one of the best ways to stick to a routine. You’re less likely to skip out on exercise because you don’t want to stand your fitness pal up, and practicing with a friend also inspires competition that’ll make you both work harder. On the flip side, working out with a friend also creates your own mini-support group.
There are other bonuses to working out with your BFF too. For one, you kill two birds with one stone. Not only are you working out, but you’re also getting some top-quality bonding in at the same time. Having a buddy also makes workouts safer, both in and outside the gym. A workout buddy can spot you in the gym and step in if you bite off a little more than you can chew in the weights section. Likewise, a fitness pal makes outside exercise safer too. The outdoors is unpredictable, so it’s always good to have a backup if something unexpected shows up.
Do you get a little...“intense” might be a nice way to put it…while playing board games or sports? Does having a goal help you get off the couch, turn off Netflix, and get in shape? Then you might want to gamify your fitness.
Gamification is exactly what it sounds like - turning fitness into a game. So how does this work? Gamification uses the same rewards that motivate you to complete a game to encourage you to do another task - in this case: fitness. Things like side-quests, daily resets, score trackers, leaderboards, and percentage of completion all give you a concrete, visible objective to work towards. And a little healthy competition never hurt anyone (get it, “healthy” competition - I’ll go sit down now).
Here are a few apps that’ll help you gamify your fitness:
For more traditional, straight-forward ways to challenge yourself, try Strava, which lets you compare your run or cycle times to your previous attempts and against anyone who has used the same path as you. Complete with leaderboards and trophies, this app gives you that extra push to stay fit. Fitbit also uses leaderboards and progress bars to motivate fitness. RunKeeper helps you keep track of your duration, pace, and the calories you burned during your runs. If your fitness is more about dieting than jogging (though, combining both works best), consider MyFitnessPal to keep track of your nutritional intake.
For more unique challenges, some great options exist. You can try Zombies Run, which turns your daily jog into a fun narrative. If you don’t run fast enough, you get eaten by zombies. This app lets you pick your own playlist and provides a voice acted narrative for extra zombie fun. Not into zombies? FitforBattle is basically the same idea, but with a fantasy theme instead.
Games, not your thing? Then why not find your “thing” among one of the newest and coolest fitness trends?
Go for the extreme with a Ninja Warrior Gym. If you haven’t seen Ninja Warrior, it’s a show where athletes compete for the best times on insane obstacle courses. It’s gotten so popular, gyms dedicated to Ninja-Warrior style fitness routines are popping up all over the USA. See if there is one near you for a new kind of extreme fitness or build one in your own backyard (many contestants have!)
Not worried about becoming a “ninja warrior?” Give Zumba a try. Zumba mixes dance and exercise for a fun fitness routine that keeps you moving and where you come across challenges like doing the Cha-Cha Slide - plank style.
Mental health awareness is growing leaps and bounds recently, and it’s a trend we highly recommend jumping on. Meditation, yoga, and other zen-like exercises (such as tai chi) are increasing in popularity. With apps like Yoga Studio and Global Yoga, you can start your yoga practice anywhere, anytime while apps like Calm and HeadSpace can help you catch up on the meditation craze.
Apps and new fitness trends are fun, but what about taking advantage of the season? Winter only comes once a year, so why not enjoy it instead of letting it bog you down by trying one of these fun exercises you can do in the snow.
Remember making snow angels as a kid? Well, this exercise is great for your abs, arms, and shoulders. Sounds too easy? We dare you to try it ten times - you’ll start feeling the burn! Still too easy? Add some hand weights or kettlebells. Just be sure to don some waterproof outerwear to keep you warm and dry – well except for the sweat that is.
Can’t go wrong with the classics - so why not have a good old-fashioned snowball fight. This gets all of your body in motion and brings friends and family into the fitness fun too.
If you live in or near an area with snow and slopes, why not try cross-country skiing, snowboarding, or just regular skiing for extreme snow fun? There is also ice-skating or ice hockey to work up a good winter sweat. Who knows? Maybe winter will become your favorite season for exercise.
The simplest way to make sure you stick to your routine: schedule time for it. You’ll know exactly when and where you’ll be working out, so it won’t slip your mind or become a stress-point in your life.
Like with everything else these days, apps can help you out. You can use one we mentioned before like Fitbit or MyFitnessPal to help you keep track of your fitness progress. If you want something a little more robust, try HeavySet to keep track of your bodybuilding and strength training or FitBod for a record of which muscles you’ve been working out and what you’ve been neglecting.
It is time now to stop sitting in front of your phone and get moving! Good luck and make sure to share your unique ways on how you stay motivated during the winter months in the comments below.
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