Simple Steps to Reawakening Your Winter Body
April 6, 2023 | 5 min read
For those of us who try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, the winter can be difficult. It’s tough to get to the gym or go for that jog when it’s snowing with wind chills below zero. We fall victim to warm blankets, Netflix, and unhealthy takeout. Worst of all, we become dormant.
Don’t kick yourself — it happens to the best of us! But now that Spring is coming, it’s time to get active, get moving, and get started. We promise you, it’s not as tough or complicated as it seems.
So whether you’re trying to get back in the swing of things or a total newbie to exercise, let’s look at some techniques to wake our bodies back up!
Here’s the good news: Effective exercise doesn’t mean bringing yourself to the brink of complete physical and mental exhaustion.
In fact, the sweet spot for moderate-intensity exercise is maintaining a heart rate between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate.
To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your current age from 220. For example, if you’re 40 years old, you’ll subtract 40 from 220 and find your maximum heart rate at about 180 beats per minute (bpm).
You’ll want to aim for activities that get your heart beating at between 64% and 76% of that amount. So, if you’re 40, your target heart rate will be between 115 and 137 bpm.
That could mean a light jog, a bike ride, or any aerobic activity you enjoy!
What’s the Best Way to Track Your Heart Rate?
Heart rate trackers are very affordable right now. You can find a great tech to help sustain an active lifestyle without breaking the budget.
If you want a recommendation, we love Smart Fitness Tracker.
The device is worn on your wrist, where it displays your current heart rate. Check it during your workout to pace yourself and make sure you’re maintaining your target heart rate.
It also has additional features like a step counter and built-in sleep monitoring. You can pair it with a free app on your phone to track your fitness goals and stats.
The value is tremendous. It stays charged for an entire week. We can’t recommend it enough.
When motivation strikes, you might be eager to jump right in, but warming up is crucial! This is especially true if you’ve been taking it easy all winter.
Light warm-up exercises have a ton of benefits:
Increased blood flow and mobility
Decreased muscle soreness after your workout
Prevention of injuries
Improved mood for a better workout
You can do a quick stretching routine or some light resistance training. Try and find something fun that you’ll look forward to! For instance, check out these Move It Beat Smart Dumbbells.
The dumbbells are relatively light, but the cool thing about them is how they work. They pair with an app on your phone that tracks their motion. The app includes a continuously updated library of cardio-based workouts for you to try. It uses the built-in motion tracking to rate your performance and even records your progress. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, here’s a tip: you can achieve all the same benefits of light dumbbell workouts by performing the same motions with a full water bottle in each hand.
Resistance bands can come in handy for a great warm-up that doesn’t require much space. Try Exercise Brand. They’re cheap, they practically last forever, and they’re easily portable
Here are a few simple, effective resistance band motions you can incorporate into your warm-up:
Side Steps: Slide the band down around your lower thighs. Bend your knees into a partial squat, keep your arms elevated at chest level, and step from side to side in either direction. Your legs will feel this one.
Resistance Deadlift: Activate your lower back with this motion. Stand on the band with your feet shoulder-width (or slightly narrower if need be) apart. Bend over and grab the ends of the band. Stand up straight for each repetition. It’s very important to keep your back straight and push up from your legs.
Rows: You’ll need some outside assistance for this one. Wrap the band around something at chest level — if you’re outdoors, you can try a tree or a street post. Stand at a distance where there’s always some tension in the band. Bend your elbows in a rowing motion to pull the ends of the band back toward you.
Resistance bands are incredibly versatile. You can find more targeted resistance band exercises online.
Okay, workout’s over. It’s time to relax, right? Well, sort of.
Ending your workout with a light cool-down session is just as important as warming up, and for the same reasons: gradually regulating your blood flow and preventing dreaded muscle soreness the next day. Some of us aren’t spring chickens — we need this!
And when it comes to preventing muscle soreness, here’s the cheat code: the massage gun. After a workout, a massage gun will quickly increase blood flow to a particular muscle group. You’ll flush out toxins, improve mobility, and promote faster recovery to get back on track.
Check out the Professional Massage Gun. It’s a bit of an investment, but you’ll know it was worth it the first time you press it against an aching, tender muscle. You’ll reach for it every time you sit on the couch, whether you worked out or not.
The massage gun comes with multiple massage heads. Use the softer ball head to loosen up muscle groups you’ve just worked, or try the metal cone-shaped head to pinpoint deep muscle tissue that’s been giving you trouble.
It’s not just good after a workout. It’s great for relieving stress after a hard day.
Unfortunately, these good habits can go to waste if we’re not mindful of what we eat.
That doesn’t necessarily mean some strict, prohibitive diet. It just means pausing from time to time to ask questions: Am I eating this snack because I’m hungry or because I’m bored? Am I full? Can I replace these sweets with more satisfying vegetables or proteins?
An air fryer can help with preparing healthier meals at home. They almost perfectly recreate the texture of your favourite pan-fried foods with just a fraction of the oil (or none!), and they’re as simple to use as a microwave.
Here are two fast and easy-to-recreate dishes:
Brussels Sprouts: Somehow, brussels sprouts always come out perfect in the air fryer. Halve them, toss them in a splash of oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook them at 380 degrees for 12-14 minutes.
Chicken Thighs: Season them however you like (one suggestion: adobo, pepper, cayenne, and a ton of garlic powder). Drizzle a tiny bit of oil on top. Cook for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, flipping them over halfway. You won’t believe the crunch.
That’s it! And that’s the point — lifestyle changes don’t have to be overwhelming. They can be progressive and sustainable.
Make time for your warm-ups and cool-downs to make sure you can feel good, get up, and do it again the next day. The hardest part of building good habits is taking the first step, so stop sweating your winter body, and instead, get out there and make your winter body sweat!