Regular exercise provides a wealth of health benefits, yet exercise numbers drop off each winter as the days get shorter, it gets colder outside, and seasonal depression kicks in. You don’t have to expose yourself to the elements to create a healthier lifestyle. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is dedicated to helping you meet your fitness and wellness goals even in the depths of winter.
Three main reasons for winter fitness fails
The cozy comfort of a blanket or the busy holiday season schedule can torpedo your wishes and resolutions for winter fitness. There are three main things that get in the way, and you can overcome all of them.
Fitness lovers are motivated to get up and get active. They form good habits and stick to a schedule. Even if your habits are busted by winter challenges, you can self-motivate. Start simple with some morning stretches, set fitness goals, and use motivational quotes on your bathroom mirror or television to remind you why it’s important to work out. Plan a spring trip, so you are working toward a goal.
Get a fitness buddy and hold each other accountable to winter exercises. You can alternate exercises at each other’s houses. You can also use an app like Strive, which is now covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, to help keep you on track.
Having a workout partner also helps with indoor exercises that are so much fun you’ll find it hard to believe that you’re exercising.
3. Busy Schedule
Scheduling time for fitness is just as important as other items on your calendar. Make it a priority. If you prioritize self-care, you’ll be better able to serve those who rely on you at home, work, and in your social circles.
Easy indoor exercises to explore
Biking, running, and swimming are three traditional outdoor exercises that can easily be done in winter. Instead of looking at the limitation of winter indoor exercises, explore possibilities so you can enjoy the benefits of regular exercise.
Start in the Kitchen
One of the best indoor exercises you can do is in the kitchen. Having a good fitness routine needs to be in tandem with healthy eating. Whether you start counting macros, limiting sugar intake, or just comparing calories eaten vs. calories burned, it starts in the fridge and cupboard.
Explore Local Gym, Fitness Centers, and Niche Fitness Free-Trials or First-Time Discounts
Use the New Year Resolution discounts at local fitness centers to your advantage. Most fitness locations offer a free trial. Make use of that.
If you’re intimidated by a big-box gym with equipment you don’t know how to use, ask for a free “how-to” session with a personal trainer. Many fitness centers offer a free personal training session for new members.
Winter is the perfect time to explore indoor exercises in niche fitness activities such as:
With each location likely offering one free class, you’ve done six workouts already without spending a dime or being exposed to the cold weather.
Indoor Exercise Bike
Exercise bikes are so advanced now they come with flatscreens that take you to the streets of Paris or allow you to take a casual stroll along the shores of Lake Tahoe. Indoor exercise bikes offer full-body workouts with handles and pedals that work with full-body strength.
You’ll find great holiday deals on a bicycle for your home around the holidays. If you truly miss being outside, fat bikes are trending. These bikes, commonly known as “fat bikes” have extra “fat” wheels and are designed to go through snow and unpaved wilderness areas that traditional bikes can’t handle.
Indoor Exercise Pool
Swimming in winter? You bet! While your favorite local big box fitness center might have pools, you should also explore the rehabilitation workout facilities in town. This is also a great option for those who suffer from joint pain or arthritis, as the water reduces the impact of exercise.
Therapy pools can include a swift current that creates resistance when you walk, working muscles, and improving cardio health. Contact your Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas representatives to see if your Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan covers hydro-therapy.
Indoor Cardio Exercises
If you have an indoor bike or treadmill, search for workout videos that you can follow along with on your smartphone or TV. Search for workouts online, and don’t forget to be specific about what you need. For example, search “30-minute Pilates class for Beginners.”
Yoga is a great exercise for people of all ages. Even children love to get involved with parents or grandparents in this fun and flexible activity. A great benefit of yoga is that just showing up on the mat is considered “doing yoga,” so you can ease in.
Start out with something simple like Sun Salutation A. It can lengthen and strengthen many of your main muscles and relax the mind. It also provides an abundance of self-awareness, presence, and breath control that can benefit the stress levels in your life.
Indoor Exercise for Kids
If you’re looking for a way to include the whole family, visit GoNoodle.com. It’s a website with interactive indoor exercise games for adults and indoor exercise for children.
The activities are designed to help them channel their physical and emotional energy for good, improving behavior, focus, and achievement. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas partnered with GoNoodle to provide access to all elementary students in our service area, but there are also activities children can do at home.
Indoor Exercise with Pets
Our furry friends also miss out on exercise during the winter. If we aren’t taking the dog for a walk, they will also have pent-up energy. Use your dog’s “tug-of-war” tendencies to work on upper body strength or do sit-ups holding the toy. The resistance offers a great core workout while your four-legged friend is getting exercise too.
Indoor Exercises Equivalent to Running
You don’t have to sacrifice the great calorie burn, or mental cleanse of a long run in the winter. Several indoor exercises offer the same benefits:
Exercise At Every Turn
Even something as simple as a small jug or bottle of water can be used as a weight, and that couch calling you to cuddle can be used for tricep dips or squats. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas team is committed to your whole health. Reach out to us today for more winter exercise incentives offered through our health plans and benefits.