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5 Tips for Staying Active All Winter Long

No one wants to work out in the winter. After all, there is hot cocoa to be drank and holiday parties to plan. Unfortunately, hibernating in your house all winter will wreak havoc on your health, both physically and mentally. It's important to stay active, even if you want to snuggle by the fire.

Up to 80% of people experience daily stress and this only gets worse when issues like seasonal affective disorder (SAD kicks in). While it might be hard to stay motivated through the winter blues, staying active when cold weather strikes is essential.

With dreary winter days right around the corner, there's no better time to start planning your fitness regimen for the end of fall.

Whether you're young or old, here are some of the best workout tips to stay active all winter long.

Try something new, like skiing

While many athletes think that they're stuck indoors all winter, this couldn't be further from the truth! Now that cold weather has arrived, it's the perfect opportunity to try a new sport like skiing or snowboarding.

It might seem like an advanced sport, but people can actually learn skiing at any point in their lives. Because there is a range of slopes with varying levels of difficulty, you can track your progress as you become more skilled. By the end of the season, you won't even be able to remember the thrill of the bunny slope as you search for larger mountains to take on. You can even track your progress with a video camera or drone to improve your game. The $100 billion drone industry isn't just for military use: athletes traversing a vast terrain, like ski slopes, can use these tools to fix issues with form and bodily control.

Best of all? You'll get the necessary vitamin D exposure. Many people suffer from low levels of vitamin D in the winter since they stay inside all day, contributing to darker moods and worsened seasonal affective disorders. By hitting the slopes, you're guaranteed a healthy dose of sunshine.

At the end of the day, trying something new will help keep your motivation up, even when the temperature is down.

Go for a dip

Swimming is the quintessential summer activity, but that doesn't mean it should stop when cold weather strikes. Swimming is one of the best fitness activities you can perform to stay active since it's a low-impact workout that involves the entire body. Visiting your local gym or fitness center can ensure you have access to an indoor pool year-round.

“Swimming has long been cited as a fantastic all-round sport to either focus solely on or to supplement your regular training,” explains Jane McCormick from Nike Swim. “Performing a range of strokes enables you to develop cardiovascular fitness and you can keep your heart rate up while the support of the water reduces the impact stress on your body. This makes it less taxing on your joints than sports such as running and cycling.”

Even if you're not the most athletic person on the planet, swimming ascertains that you will get a good workout. There are also a variety of pools to consider when you're choosing the best option for you. Chlorine pools are classic, but ozone sanitation systems can help reduce chlorine use by up to 90%. This makes it gentler on your skin, especially during the winter when dry, cold air makes skincare a necessity. Just be sure to leave any wool sweaters at home; even though alpaca fibers are strong with 50 N/ktex, they don't do well when exposed to water.

Visiting your local museum or art gallery is a great way to work out both your mind and body. While it isn't as intense as running on the treadmill, it will keep you from binge-watching another show on Netflix. Traversing the grand halls of local institutions can help you learn something new, feel more engaged with your community, and help you reach your daily step count.

Museums and galleries are constantly switching up their collection. Even small museums offer an array of new features on a consistent basis. As such, you can probably visit your local gallery every couple of weeks to see something new. Even visiting a local car show can help reveal a number of surprising facts to share with your friends. Did you know that the Carroll Shelby only built 654 small-block Cobras from 1962 to 1968? You'll learn countless facts like these when you visit the cooler museums in your area.

Focus on the numbers

Machines at the gym can help you stay motivated since they're a great tool to track your progress. After all, the numbers don't lie. You will feel amazing as you shave off seconds from your mile each time you hit the gym. The next time you work out on a machine, be sure to take a picture of the time or track your statistics in a book to help inspire you to do even better next time.

Keep in mind that when we say to focus on the numbers, we're not talking about the scale in your bathroom. Timing your runs or tracking how much you can lift from one week to the next is a much stronger motivator than getting your bodyweight down. In fact, building muscle can make you heavier. Remember that health looks different for everybody.

Bring a friend to the gym

If you can't stand the thought of going to the gym or working out alone, a friend can be a great motivator. Seeing someone else work hard can inspire you to run further or try harder. These workout buddies will also help keep you accountable when you're not feeling like hitting the gym.

These are just some of the ways you can stay active over the winter. And because exercising releases endorphins, you can rest assured that your mind and body will feel good for the whole season.

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