• By Dana Sparks

Limited Sunlight and Holiday Activities Make Winter Workouts Tough

December 24, 2013

Between holidays and the cold, dark time of the year, winter workouts can be tough. Finding the motivation to exercise, be active and be engaged isn’t always easy. Try exploring these tips to create a healthier you this winter. Jill Rohloff, director of Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague’s The Fitness Center, has 11 tips to help you fight the urge for inactivity this winter.Young woman stretching before her run outdoors on a cold fall/winter day

  1. Create new traditions. Schedule regular family walks during holiday break and weekends. You could even sign your family up for a local running event.
  2. Manage your time. Plan your shopping, gift wrapping and other holiday or winter activities around your workouts. If you need to do a shorter workout, compromise by increasing the intensity.
  3. Make working out convenient. Pull out an exercise DVD and exercise at home before work if you’re short on time. Once you get home from work, you’ll be happy that you completed your workout earlier in the day.
  4. Keep track of your weight. Weigh yourself weekly during the winter. This will help you keep an eye on fitness and weight-loss goals.
  5. Sign up for an accountability program. Chances are your workplace or local gym offer special exercise classes like the 12,000 Calorie Burner or Maintain – Don’t Gain programs. Register for a class to help you keep your fitness routine in check.
  6. Follow the 80/20 rule. If you stick to eating healthy 80 percent of the time during the holidays, the other 20 percent isn’t going to do much damage. Eat in moderation, and stop feeling guilty.
  7. Fill up on protein. Eat some protein before you go to a holiday party. Protein sticks with you longer and keeps you from having the urge to snack.
  8. Don’t fast. Fasting usually backfires, leading to overeating at parties. Don’t try to save your calories. Stay in your routine and, again, eat in moderation.
  9. Eat your veggies. Challenge yourself to fill up half of your plate with vegetables during your evening meals. And if you’re going to a holiday party, bring the veggie tray so you know it’s going to be there.
  10. Ask yourself if the food is worth it. When choosing foods for your plate at family gatherings, work parties or buffet lines, always stop and ask yourself, “Is this food worthy?” Choose foods carefully and savor them.
  11. Be active most days of the week. Try to participate in some form of exercise for 30 minutes a day, six days a week. This keeps your brain and body in the routine even though your exercise may vary in intensity level from day to day.

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