In the northern portions of the United States, especially, it’s easy to want to retreat indoors for the winter and not come out again until spring. The unfortunate part to this hibernation is that many people will become inactive when they avoid the outdoors, potentially leading to seasonal weight gain and/or a loss of muscle mass. When this happens for a whole season, it can be difficult to get back into a regular exercise routine after all those months indoors.
But if you’ve put on winter weight (or you’re trying to avoid it) and you’re looking for ways to get active again, you’re in luck. Here are three things you can do to kick that seasonal weight gain to the curb:
- Watch out for harmful eating patterns.
Are you a stress eater? Do you skip meals all day only to pig out at dinner? No matter how you tend to eat, you could be doing serious damage to your metabolism when you don’t have a healthy or consistent diet. Evaluate your eating habits and watch out for too many sugar treats or big meals — especially on a regular basis. If you have serious weight or health concerns, talk to your doctor first.
- Join a fitness club.
Sometimes it’s difficult to force yourself to leave the house when the temperatures have dropped below freezing. Taking group classes or going and working out on your own can be a great way to burn calories and add muscle. For instance, playing tennis in one of your local tennis clubs can help you lose up to half a pound for every three to four hours you play the sport vigorously. Further, this same level of activity each week can potentially cut your risk of heart attack and heart disease in half. No matter which activities are your favorites, there are plenty of health and fitness clubs all over the country that can provide you with some fun physical activity.
- Reduce your stress.
Find ways to unwind that won’t result in emotional eating, a lack of exercise, or instances that are damaging to your personal life. Take the stress out in tennis fitness drills or on the squash courts, or get a massage in luxury spa. If you can’t decrease the amount of stress in your life, try to change your response to the things that bother you. For example, if you tend to reach for a snack or decompress by binge watching TV shows on Netflix all day, it may be time to look at how you can deal with these stressors that is actually productive.
What are you doing to stop seasonal weight gain this winter? Tell us your fitness plan in the comments.