Are you working out as much as you should in the winter? Do you find that the cold weather hurts your joints, reduces your energy, and packs on the pounds? Do you want to finally feel healthy and vibrant, even if the weather outside is frightful?
We’re going to give you 7 low impact indoor workouts that will keep you active and healthy this winter. They’re low impact, so you don’t risk damage to your joints, muscles, or bones. And they’re indoors, so you don’t have to deal with the cold wintery weather. No more excuses, so let’s get to it!
Why Workout in the Winter?
There are two main reasons you want to keep up your workout routine this winter: to keep your weight down and to keep your joints moving.
First, it’s not uncommon to put on a little winter weight. We’re eating heartier foods, and we have less motivation to get to the gym. We also tend to be more sedentary during the winter. We sit at our desks, we drive in the car, and we lounge on the couch. We’re not getting outside to play or go for walks.
This kind of sedentary lifestyle can quickly run up the number on the scale. Added weight means additional pressure on your joints and bones. Joint injury and arthritis are more common among those who are overweight because their body has more to support.
Maintaining a consistent workout routine helps burn calories and shed that extra weight. This helps promote a healthy body, strong joints, and enhanced energy levels.
Second, if you don’t use it, you lose it. In order to keep your muscles and joints strong, you need to keep working them. If you don’t keep your joints warm, they will actually start to harden and freeze up in the cold weather. That’s one reason people with arthritis have more pain in the winter—their joints are actually “freezing”!
So how can you keep up your workout routine in the winter? Here are some easy, low impact, indoor exercises you can do to fight winter stiffness.
Ice-skating is a fun way to get moving with family and friends. It may not help you escape the cold, but why not embrace a comfortable chill to keep you in the winter spirit while you workout?
Skating can actually burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories per hour, making it a highly effective form of cardio. The balance and movement needed to skate also help tone your butt, legs, and core. Skating requires the use of stabilizer muscles to stay upright, including your hips (which is often an under-appreciated joint when working out).
Plus, ice-skating is low impact. If you keep your knees bent and flexible, you’re barely put any weight on your joints. Make sure your skates fit correctly to protect your ankles out on the ice.
One of the best workouts you can do—and you can do it anywhere—is the plank. Not only is it low impact, but planks also help burn fat faster than other types of single-movement calorie busters.
Planks build your core muscles which in turn realign your entire structure and posture. A strong core supports your joints and other muscles in daily movement. Strengthening it will cut down on muscle sprains preserve your joint mobility later on in life.
To do a plank, start in a push-up position. Keep your arms and legs extended and your toes curled underneath you. You want your back to be completely straight as if you drew a line from your head to your feet. Pushing your butt up or down can actually put a strain on your lower back.
See how long you can hold the plank for. We recommend starting with 30 seconds and adding 5 or 10 more seconds every day until you’re a planking pro.
Swimming is low-impact and can be done in heated pools at your gym or local rec center. A 20-minute swim will work out almost every muscle in your body and has little to no impact on your joints. The compound movements necessary for swimming burn fat and strengthen your muscles without the stress of weights or gravity.
We especially love swimming because it can actually help fortify your joints. Repetitive movements in the water can help loosen and strengthen your shoulder, knee, and hip muscles.
When you’re walking down the hall in your house or waiting for leftovers to heat up, do some lunges. These work your leg muscles and core to burn calories quickly and blast fat effectively.
Learn how to do the perfect lunge here. You can even hold water bottles in either hand to imitate gentle weights that further deepen the lunge and stabilize your core.
Be careful not to strain your knees when you bend them. Keep your kneecap straight above your ankle to prevent injury.
Yoga improves flexibility and strength while using your core and leg muscles primarily. One yoga class can work nearly all of the muscles in your body. Hot yoga in the winter will help you warm up and deepen your stretches to promote flexibility and joint fluidity.
Yoga also offers mental benefits for its practitioners. Yoga can help to ease seasonal depression, improve sleep patterns, and reduce stress levels. If you find that winter makes you more anxious or moody, yoga might be a great way to get back in tune with your mind and body.
Don’t forget to stretch! Check out these 8 stretches to promote joint health in the winter.
Invest in a rebounder or small trampoline for your home. Jumping on a trampoline is a low impact workout that helps burn calories, increase your energy, and improve your mood. Rebounding actually has a lot of health benefits that will get you healthier this winter:
Rebounding can help manage the symptoms of arthritis through safe joint lubrication and reduced stiffness.
Dancing is one of the healthiest—and most fun—ways to stay fit. Whether you attend a dance class or you’re just dancing around your home, it keeps you active and engages your muscles and joints. Plus, dancing makes you feel “silly” and lighthearted, which is a great way to reduce stress and improve quality of life.
Try out Zumba, ballet, or barre. Barre classes combine dance, yoga, Pilates, and weight training for a great workout. And it’s not just for women. Men find it equally challenging (sometimes even more challenging, because they’re working muscles they’ve never worked in other sports).
But you don’t even have to attend a class. Throw on your favorite dance-worthy playlist and get down. No one’s watching, so really get into it. The more you move, the better you’ll feel!
Working out is critical to maintaining your health during the unforgiving cold season. Low impact exercises keep your muscles strong, your joints flexible, and your energy high.
What indoor exercises do you do to stay fit and healthy in the winter? Let us know in the comments below.
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