Though Spring is just around the corner, many areas around the world are still experiencing cold temperatures and snowfall. It is easy to feel energized and happy on a skiing trip when everything is covered in sparkling white, the air is crisp and the slopes are calling. But winter in the city is a different affair; getting up in the dark and finishing work just as the day is coming to an end can feel quite depressing.
It may seem that wrapping up on the couch with hot cocoa or a glass of bourbon is the best antidote but science says otherwise. Get out there and get active, and your body will reward you with a surge of energy that can carry on into the spring and summer months, as we prepare to spring forward in just a week.
Sport and the city
Working out in the gym is better than slouching at home, but the best you can do is to skip the gym session in favor of heading outdoors. Even in the city, there are plenty of workout options available for those willing to try. Newbies unaccustomed to exercising in the cold can start with simple brisk walks, while running or cycling will be good for those who are more advanced. Military fitness classes, parkour, or even a self-guided workout with resistance bands at your local park can all be done before or after work.
Find what’s right for you
If you find it hard to motivate yourself because of the dark, cold weather, the good news is that after just one session, the rewards will be greater than you expect. Session number two will be much easier!
Maintaining an outdoor fitness routine during the week will also allow you to reap the benefits of the weekend. Accustomed to the cold, your body and mind will yearn for more activities. Winter camping and open water swimming are only two among many microadventures you can cram between Friday evening and Monday morning. And if these sound too extreme, a scenic hike with your family and a camera will also do.
With the right equipment and preparation, you will feel warm and comfortable no matter the activity. Invest in moisture-wicking base layers, or dig out your skiing ones – they don’t need to wait for the next holiday. In addition, a headtorch is a great ally for winter adventures.
Once you incorporate outdoor exercise into your routine, chances are you’ll quickly forget about the winter blues. Multiple studies point to benefits such as enhanced mental well-being, weight-loss (the cold helps burn calories!) and decreased stress. You hardly need more reasons to get outside and get moving. Your favorite comforter and a cup of hot cocoa can wait – and they will feel even better after a good outdoor workout.