By Jason Lewis, Strongwell.org
It can be tough to get motivated to move during dark, cold days when it’s tempting to sleep in or spend evenings cocooned on the couch. But winter weather doesn’t have to derail your fitness routine. And getting regular exercise can help stave off the stress, depression, and anxiety that sometimes comes hand in hand with shorter days and colder temperatures. So here are a few ideas for indoor workouts that will help you beat the winter blues, keep bad habits at bay, and maybe even shed some holiday-induced hibernation weight.
Yoga offers a wealth of benefits. According to Healthline, some studies show that yoga:
- Can reduce the body’s levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
- Can lead to lower levels of anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
- May help protect against certain conditions caused by chronic inflammation, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- Can lower blood pressure and heart rate, promoting heart health.
- May help reduce chronic pain in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.
- May improve sleep quality because it increases practitioners’ levels of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
- Can improve strength, flexibility, and balance.
Yoga also helps you stay fit and flexible for other types of exercise routines that work up more of a sweat. And it’s easy to fit into your schedule. If you can’t make it to a class or prefer solo stretch sessions, all you need to get started at home is a mat. There are plenty of DVDs, online resources, and apps that can help you master a poses. You can also check out yoga DVDs for free from your local library if you want to expand your options.
Swimming offers a flood of advantages. According to Fitness, a water workout:
- Acts as a cardio and strength training session at the same time.
- Boosts lung function and blood flow to the brain.
- Is accessible to almost anyone, regardless of age, injury, or athletic ability.
- Has positive effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system health, cognitive functioning, muscle mass, and blood chemistry, making it a great anti-aging exercise routine.
- Works underutilized muscles and areas including your lower back and core.
- Helps relieve stress. In addition to producing mood-boosting natural brain chemicals, research shows swimming can be a particular effective weapon against stress because being in the water cuts down on the level of sensory information you’re taking in and creates a sense of calm.
If you want to move your winter workouts underwater, you can join a gym or local YMCA with an indoor pool. Many areas also have community centers, schools, and universities that also provide public pool access for a fee. And such facilities typically offer a number of other indoor exercise options worth exploring.
Strength training pulls its weight as an indoor exercise choice, even if you aren’t interested in bulking up. According to Everyday Health, resistance training:
- Helps people lose weight and keep it off because it boosts the calories they burn during day-to-day activities.
- Helps preserve bone and muscle mass as you age.
- Makes you stronger and more fit.
- Improves balance, coordination, and posture. In fact, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent.
- Can help combat the effects of some diseases. For instance, for people with type 2 diabetes, strength training — along with other healthy lifestyle changes — can help improve glucose control.
- Can improve your mood, sleep quality, and overall quality of life.
While you can invest in a gym membership or inexpensive equipment including dumbbells and resistance bands, there are also plenty of effective strength training exercises you can do with no equipment at all. For example, you use your own body weight as resistance for exercises including squats, lunges, and push-ups.
Now that you have the movement part down, here are the natural solutions that will help support your winter fitness program:
- Mito2Max® Energy and Stamina Complex: Supports healthy cellular energy production.* Supports healthy mitochondrial function and aerobic capacity, and improves stamina naturally without the use of harmful stimulants.
- Marjoram Essential Oil: Apply to muscles before and after exercising. Add to a soothing massage blend for targeting tired, stressed muscles.
- AromaTouch® Massage Blend: Apply to neck and shoulders to promote feelings of relaxation and lessen tension. Comforting and relaxing effects.
- DeepBlue® Soothing Blend: Invigorating workout blend. Perfect soothing blend after exercise. A few drops of Deep Blue Soothing Blend diluted in Fractionated Coconut Oil can be a part of a cooling and comforting massage after a workout.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil: Combine with carrier oil and massage after a hard workout. Apply after a long run for a refreshing feeling.
(*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)
I bet you’re now ready to give exercise excuses the cold shoulder this season and try some of these indoor workouts, oils and supplements to fight stress, depression, and that dreaded winter weight gain!