Every New Year millions of people decide that this is the year when they’re going to get fit, lose weight and stick to a training regime. Most of these people have given up by the end of January! There’s a good reason for that. The favourite way for people to get fit is to take up running. It’s free, doesn’t require lots of expensive equipment and you do it from your own front door.
Sounds perfect? In the spring and summer, maybe, but what about the middle of winter?
January can be a bleak time of year in the UK. It’s dark, cold and, let’s face it, a bit miserable. It might snow, it frequently freezes, and when it doesn’t, the world looks washed out and the sky grey. It’s not hard to see why so many people quickly give up on running and return to the couch.
Even seasoned runners can find it difficult to get out the door during the winter. If you’re a cyclist you’ll know just how treacherous icy conditions can be, and that’s even before you’ve factored in headwinds, freezing downpours and snow.
So what can you do to keep up your fitness during those testing winter months? Here are a few alternatives you might want to consider.
It’s simple, it’s cheap and above all else it makes you feel good. Dancing is a great way to maintain your fitness levels during the winter months. Whether you opt for something structured via an online streaming service such as Ballet Beautiful, or just freestyle for a set period of time, dancing burns the calories, gives you a vigorous workout and makes you feel good.
Whack on your favourite high-tempo tunes and go for it. The best part of dancing in your own home is that no one cares if you’ve got two left feet or a complete lack of rhythm!
Take the stairs
If you live in an apartment block or otherwise have access to a few flights of stairs, then you can use them to stay fit during winter. Run up them as fast as you can, and then walk or jog down. Repeat the process, seeing how many flights of stairs you can manage without needing to take a break.
It’s a great way to challenge your quad and glute muscles, and several studies have also found stair running exercises are an ideal way to improve your VO2 Max. This applies to both seasoned athletes and people just starting out.
Strength train with home workouts
With YouTube and online streaming services, it’s never been easier to get involved with a home workout. Whether you opt to do it alone or follow a trainer online, it’s a great way to get and keep fit.
By adding resistance work into your workout you can help to improve your running form when you do get out and start running again. It helps to strengthen your bones and ligaments, to prevent injuries and strengthen your muscles. Keep up the strength training and you’ll be a more powerful and faster runner by the time spring arrives.
Many athletes, whatever their particular field, incorporate yoga into their training routines. It’s not going to burn high levels of calories or give you the kind of high-intensity workout that you may be craving, but it will increase your mobility and core strength.
Yoga can support your training in the round, giving you an extra, gentler element that makes you a more effective athlete over time. Winter is a great time to start, with online and real-world classes easy to access all year round.
Visit the gym
Gyms always have an influx of new members during January as people decide they’re going to get fit. While many of these memberships will rarely be used, visiting the gym is a practical choice for many people who want to train all year round.
If you don’t fancy a gym membership or it’s not practical, then how about setting up a home gym in your garage or spare room? Home gym equipment is now more professional and affordable than it’s ever been.
Whatever you choose to do it’s important not to let your training slip during the winter months. With a bit of imagination, you can be fit and ready to venture out into the world when the weather finally starts to warm up.