Between traveling, holiday festivities, and the cold Connecticut winters, staying active isn’t easy this time of year. If you want to manage your weight and maintain your health, you’ll need to get out there and get moving. Luckily, the nutrition and wellness experts at Nu, LLC have useful insights to help you stay motivated and active during the winter months.
Step One: Watch the Weather
Near Connecticut’s coast, temperatures often drop below 0° Fahrenheit in the winter months. This type of extreme chill can cause frostbite on exposed skin in less than an hour. When you factor in wind chill and moisture from rain, sleet, and snow, winter weather in the Northeast can be dangerous. Always monitor the forecast before going out, and whenever possible, try to exercise when it’s dry and the sun is out to take advantage of the warmth.
Step Two: Plan Ahead!
Once you know what the weather forecast has in store, plan your exercise ahead of time. If you are going for a hike, use an app like the one from All Trails to choose a route in advance. Make sure that trails and parking lots are clear. Bring along a workout buddy or let family and friends know where you are headed.
Step Three: Dress for Success
Wearing multiple layers is key to protecting your body while exercising in the winter, but each layer needs to serve a specific purpose. The base layer should be tight-fitting and made of a moisture-wicking material like polypropylene, silk, or polyester to keep you dry. For the middle layer, choose clothing that’s looser but still carries moisture away, such as fleece, wool, or synthetic blends. Finally, cover everything else with a wind and moisture-resistant shell. Add a hat, gloves, and heavy socks to protect your extremities. Shoes with good support and traction are a must. Add on some YakTrax for extra grip and stability in slippery conditions.
Step Four: Don’t cool down immediately
The Nu, LLC team wants to stress the importance of a gradual cool-down session. When you get back inside, only remove wet or damp clothing, then spend 5-10 minutes performing gentle stretches and light cardio. Doing this helps regulate blood flow and restores your body to its pre-exercise temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Allowing for a gradual cooldown will also prolong the fat-burning benefits we are looking for when weight loss is a goal.
But what if the weather isn’t cooperating?
We know, exercising in the chilly and wet Fairfield County winters isn’t always enticing. Don’t let the cold temperatures keep you from achieving your weight loss goals!
Join a gym.
Joining a gym that follows the CDC’s recommended safety guidelines allows you to exercise in various ways without dealing with the cold outdoor temperatures. Many people opt to do cardio on the treadmill, stationary bike, or even in the pool, while others prefer building muscle through resistance training. Many gyms also have exercise classes and indoor sports facilities for their clients. Regardless of which activity you do, you’ll enjoy the numerous benefits that come from exercising without the chill.
Get exercise at home.
If you aren’t keen on leaving the house, you can get in a great workout from home. Always start by stretching to warm up your muscles and reduce the risk of injury. You can then do bodyweight workouts like pushups, squats, and crunches to help build muscle. For cardio, try walking up and down a flight of stairs or turning on music for a dance party.
Need some guidance? The Fitness Blender channel on YouTube and apps such as FitOn offer totally free workouts. Weight training, yoga, Pilates and kick boxing are just some of the exercise styles you can choose from. If you’re interested in investing in workout equipment such as a treadmill, bike, rower, TRX trainer or free weights, try downloading an app such as Peloton or Nordic Trac. These apps will give you both live and recorded workouts to follow while also offering the opportunity to socialize and compete with other exercisers and trainers.
Make it a family affair.
It’s often easier to remain active when other people are involved. Gather the family and walk around your neighborhood to take in the holiday lights, play fun games that keep you moving like Pictionary or Charades, or head outside to build snowmen and have a snowball fight.
Staying active is only one part of the weight management solution.
The other part is following the right nutrition plan, and Nu’s Fairfield County, CT weight management team can help. Co-founded by Meg Whitbeck, MS, RDN, and Ava Safir, JD, MS, RDN, Nu uses medical nutrition therapy to help people treat certain chronic diseases and better manage their weight. This proven, evidence-based solution identifies your unique nutritional needs and provides a custom plan designed to help you reach your health goals. Visit us online to learn more and set up an initial consultation.