Channel your inner warrior with tips to stay active this winter
Dance, exercise, cook right and stay positive as Jack Frost brings on the cold!
Brrr, its cold outside. And as temperatures plummets, so, too, can our motivation to stay active. On dark, chilly days, the lure of staying in a warm bed or wrapping ourselves in a heavy blanket by the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa seems far more enticing. However, exercising in the colder months can transform mood, body and mind.
From trying new outdoor sports to working out in the convenience (and warmth!) of your home, these tips will help you channel your inner winter warrior and find your fitness groove this season.
1. TRY SOMETHING NEW (CURLING, ANYONE?)
Whether it’s downhill skiing or snowboarding, or the truly iconic Canadian pastimes of skating and ice hockey, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to get your heart thumping in the coldest months. This year, why not try something new, like curling, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing—or even an afternoon of old-school sledding. Not only can a new activity be fun, but it challenges you to use different muscles and improve your overall athleticism. It will also give you the great sense of accomplishment that comes with learning a new skill.
No matter what activity you choose, comfort is key, so don’t forget to dress for the weather.
Opt for layers, which you can remove or add as needed, to stay warm and dry. Start with a thin base layer made of sweat-wicking and breathable fabrics to help pull sweat away from your skin. And go for wind- and water-resistant materials for your outerwear, which will protect you from wind, snow, and rain. If you’re more of a night hawk when it comes to outdoor workouts, be sure to wear reflective materials on your clothing to stay safe.
Winter sports can be serious calorie-burners, so filling up before you head out is critical. For a boost of energy to kick start your day, opt for a full breakfast— like these Morning Toasts or Sunny Side Up Fiesta Toasts on ACE Bakery® Sliced Sourdough Miche.
2. SET A GOAL (MAKE IT EASY!)
Waking up for a workout in the cold weather can be difficult, as you battle the impulse to hit snooze. It’s even harder if you don’t have a goal to work towards! Kick off your winter motivation by setting a fitness goal. Whether it’s to improve your endurance, maintain your weight or just get outside every day, setting a specific goal with checkpoints along the way will help ensure you stay on track.
Once you have an aim in mind, you can start planning how to achieve it. Start with the biggest goal and then break it down into weekly and daily tasks that will get you there. Whatever target you set, make sure it’s realistic and achievable. (There’s nothing more de-motivating than setting an impossible goal.)
It helps to write your goals down so you can visualize them. Decide at the beginning of the week what days you’ll exercise, then add them to your schedule. Treat it as you would a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. You’re more likely to follow through when you’ve already carved out the time. Then, hold yourself accountable, track where you are at with reaching the goal, and give yourself rewards when you reach milestones.
For an extra boost of motivation, try writing your goals on post‐it notes and stick them around your home so that they’re always top of mind. Be sure to include your past achievements too, to remind yourself how far you’ve already come!
3. BUDDY UP (. . . AND BUILD A SNOWMAN?)
Sometimes the toughest part of a workout is just showing up. Stay motivated and accountable by finding an exercise buddy. You’re much less likely to bail on a workout if you’ve got a friend, family member or spouse waiting for you. Exercise partners can also help make your workouts more fun and keep you distracted through the most challenging points. At the same time, you can simply make it fun and bring out the kid in each other: Even making snow angels or building a snowman are ways to stay active!
Having someone to support your achievements and encourage you can really give you the kick‐start you need on those tougher days. Keep a copy of each other’s schedules and check up on them regularly to keep each other on track. Make sure to give each other lots of encouragement and constructive feedback.
After your workout, reward yourselves—and replenish your energy—with a delicious snack, like veggies dipped in our Maple Butternut Squash Hummus, which is loaded with fiber-rich butternut squash and chickpeas, or a bowl of fruit and yogurt topped with naturally sweetened, preservative-free ACE Bakery® Granola.
4. HACKS THAT HELP
Working out doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Set yourself up for success with a few easy hacks that will help remove obstacles and make physical activity a part of your daily routine. If you’re a morning exerciser, get things off to a good start by changing your alarm tone to an upbeat song. Choose something will get you out of bed and get your heart beating faster. Consider laying out your workout clothes the night before (or sleep in them!) so you can simply get up and go.
Eating well is another way you can help stay motivated and energized to stay fit through the winter months. Try cooking one new nutritious dish one night per week, a casserole or a stew, or try this ACE Bakery® recipe for French Onion Soup with Roasted Garlic Crostino, bursting with caramelized onions, and topped with cubes of toasted ACE® bread and plenty of gooey melted cheese.
And be sure to get your Zzzs. Getting enough sleep each night helps refresh your mind and body, which can boost your morale and motivation. Above all, remember to always kind to yourself. Part of establishing a routine is listening to your body and taking a recovery day when needed. Rest lets your body to consolidate the hard work you’ve been doing, and is an important part of any fitness journey.
5. TAKE IT INSIDE (DANCING COUNTS)
Still can’t be convinced to commune with the great outdoors when it’s less that zero degrees? Move it inside! Push the furniture out of the way and make your own DIY home gym. All you need is a mat and some weights (even cans of soup will do, in a pinch!). To take it up a notch, consider investing in a few additional pieces, such as resistance bands, a skipping rope, or a stability ball.
Since COVID, there are a ton of online workouts (many of them free!) to keep your heart thumping. Love dancing? Try a fitness or Zumba class. Looking for something more relaxing? Try Yoga. Targeting a certain area? There’s a YouTube video for that! And change up your routine regularly, so that you’re trying different workouts or focusing on different parts of your body. Variety will keep things fun and challenging.