How to Stay Fit During the Winter: Exercise and Dieting Tips
The weather is cold. The days are short. Sidewalks and roads can be icy. Conditions during winter in many parts of the country, most notable here in the north, can conspire to put us in hibernation mode. It’s tempting to binge-watch TV, eat comfort food and forget about exercise. For these reasons and others, in winter we tend to move less, eat more, and gain weight.
Don’t let it happen! It’s more important during winter than ever to pay attention to healthy nutrition and movement. Here are seven exercise and eating tips to help you stay active, manage your calorie intake, and head off weight gain during the winter months.
- Try “cool temperature” training. Research from the National Institutes of Health in 2014 has shown that exposure to cool indoor temperatures overnight increases the amount of brown fat, which the body burns to create heat. The findings suggest that cool temperature exposure can alter the body’s energy balance and help to reduce obesity and diabetes.
- Build extra steps into your day to stay fit during winter. Skip the elevator in those buildings you frequent regularly and take the stairs. You’ll create a routine that will burn extra calories to help you stay fit.
- Make peace with snow by finding an outdoor activity you enjoy. Try cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, making a snowman with the kids–or simply carving your own path through the snow. Like treading on sand, walking in snow takes a little effort and burns extra calories. Plan to spend at least 30 minutes a day moving your body in a way that increases your heart rate and respiration.
- That midday slump may be due to dehydration. If you’re fighting brain fog or feeling headachy around 2 or 3 pm, don’t automatically reach for a snack. Try a glass of water or herbal tea. Especially during the indoor heating months, it’s easy to become dehydrated without knowing it. About 75% of Americans are dehydrated, according to health researchers. Sipping water throughout the day can help you to feel sharp and keep you from consuming excess calories.
- When you do enjoy a snack, include protein to fuel your body and feel full longer. Try a cup of coconut milk yogurt, a Protein Cookie, or an apple with almond butter. Eat at least 10 grams of protein to keep you feeling full longer.
- Boost the protein in your breakfast. Beginning the day with a protein-rich breakfast can curb cravings and contribute to sustaining a healthy weight. Instead of reaching for a pastry or sweetened cereal, try quinoa oatmeal. For some extra flavor and fiber, we love mixing one of our Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes into our quinoa blend. A protein-rich breakfast will stay with you longer than coffee and a bagel, and will reduce the urge to snack on carbs or sugar.
- Enjoy non-processed, whole foods with each meal. Try to “eat the rainbow” every day. This includes nutrient-rich red, purple, and yellow fruit. Dark green veggies, like spinach and kale, are packed with vitamins and minerals. Include lean protein, such as beans, lentils, nuts and tofu (or other soy foods) to fuel and repair muscles. If you focus on eating real food and think less about “dieting,” you will go a long way to staying fit during winter, and the rest of the year as well.
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