Winter is a time of celebration, with lots of food at Christmas and drinks on New Year’s Eve. It’s also a time when many find it too cold to spend much time outside, resulting in long nights on the sofa, curled up next to a radiator or fireplace. For these reasons, winter can also be considered the season most responsible for weight gain and disease – but can we do anything to protect ourselves from it?
In this article, we’ll cover some important tips you can use to lose weight and prevent weight gain in the winter. We look at the best workouts for cold weather and then the best winter products for weight management and healthy living. Have fun!
Winter Training and Survival Tips for Cold Weather!
The cold is perhaps the first and biggest reason why people don’t exercise in the winter. It’s hard to motivate yourself to run in the morning when it’s less than zero! However, many people don’t realize that the cold weather associated with running outdoors can actually improve your physical performance.
One study has shown that exposure to cold shake can help convert white fat cells to brown fat cells; brown fat cells are much more beneficial than white fat cells because they can help us burn more energy. Those concerned about the discomfort of running in the winter should also be aware that brown mast cells offer more effective protection against the cold than their white counterparts. Source.
Exercise also releases endorphins, happiness hormones that can improve mood. This is especially helpful during the dark winter months when you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues. Getting in shape can also help boost energy levels and combat fatigue, which is one of the symptoms of SAD. Source.
Regular exercise can strengthen your immune system and make it easier for your body to fight off colds and flu. The evidence is limited, but studies have shown that exercise causes changes in the antibodies and white blood cells that fight bacteria in the blood. Source.
Running in the snow burns more calories and has greater endurance than running on a hard surface like asphalt. The deeper the snow, the harder it is to walk, and the more your muscles have to work to improve your fitness with each step.
The cold of winter can also help us burn fat even when we rest. Because we are warm-blooded, our body regulates our temperature at 37 degrees Celsius. There is a theory that when you are in a cold environment, your body has to work harder to stay at 37 degrees and therefore burns more calories (this is called cold-induced thermogenesis). There are many ways to get the most out of this process: Turning down the thermostat and sleeping with the window open are two options. If you walk, jog, or even take a long hike outside in the winter, you’ll theoretically burn more calories than the same amount of exercise in a heated room.
Warm-up and safety training
A good warm-up is an essential part of any workout, but is even more important during the winter months. Warming up literally helps your muscles warm up and relax, protecting them from fatigue and muscle pain, even sprains and injuries. Training in cold weather without a warm-up can also have a negative effect on your training performance.
Remember to be careful when walking on icy or snowy ground. If you fall or slip, you may sprain your ankle or suffer a more serious injury and interrupt your exercise program. Source.
If running or jogging in the cold doesn’t seem appealing, there are many other training options.
Avoid the cold and exercise indoors or at a gym or recreation center. Some gyms offer discounts in the winter, as November and December are some of the quietest months. You can also try many different exercises, such as B. Pilates, yoga, boxing exercises or Jiu-Jitsu. If you want to save money or if you live too far from a gym, you can try hundreds of different exercises that you can do at home without equipment. One of our favorite sites is darebee.com, a free resource that offers hundreds of workout programs for different fitness levels and goals.
Christmas is often a time of culinary indulgence, and it can be tempting to overdo it in the winter, but a few tweaks can help prevent weight gain or even ensure you lose weight during the winter.
Salads may be the diet food of the summer, but their freshness and light flavor are much less appealing in the winter, when all you want to do is heat up comfort food. Instead, choose seasonal winter vegetables that are hearty, nutritious and affordable in the winter. Winter vegetables include sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkins, onions, carrots and parsnips. They are all delicious roasted or cooked in soup, providing a long list of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while being low in calories. Herb soups are an excellent health food. Studies show that people who eat soup as an appetizer consume fewer calories during the entire meal. Source.
Kale, kale and other green leafy vegetables are also in season; their high fiber content helps suppress appetite and keep the digestive system going, and helps lower cholesterol.
For Christmas itself, you only have to choose one pudding. With a slice of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, a Christmas stollen, a box of chocolates swinging through the living room and a cheeky chocolate from the tree, the calories add up quickly. Buying fewer desserts means fewer calories, fewer leftovers to eat in the days after Christmas and a slimmer waistline for the New Year.
Empty calories from alcohol also make up the bulk of the extra calories we take in at Christmas; mulled wine, beer, eggnog and Baileys are full of sugar and calories. At your next Christmas party, try swapping out heavy drinks for lighter ones. Slimline tonic and sparkling water are good low-calorie mixing options that can significantly reduce the caloric value of a drink.
In general, try not to overdo it during the holidays, but don’t starve yourself either. If you indulge in sweets, don’t blame yourself or use them as an excuse to stop eating sensibly.
About the Author: Rachel Butler.
Rachel has been with us since we started in 2012.
Rachel has tested countless products over the years and written many articles with sound advice. Their professional opinion is widely respected.
Rachel holds a BSc in Clinical Sciences from the University of Leicester, UK.
She lives in York with her husband and her young daughter and their dog, a small terrier named Betsy.
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