fitness

5 clever ways to keep moving when it's too cold to go for a run.

Amart Sports
Thanks to our brand partner, Amart Sports

Winter weather goes hand in hand with so many things – hot chocolate, cable knit scarves, bed socks, reading, finding excuses to stay in bed… you get the picture.

For many (if not most) of us, ‘fitness’ doesn’t immediately come to mind. Working out when it’s toe-numbingly freezing outside calls for extreme willpower and, in some cases, bribery.

Yet, as we all know, regular exercise is something we should be making time for. To get around the chill factor, you just need to cheat a little bit. Here are five cunning ways to do so.

1. Just don’t leave the house.

If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your warm, cosy house to go outside in the cold… then don’t do it. Exercise doesn’t come with a rulebook stating it must be done in the great outdoors.

There are plenty of workouts that can be done from the comfort of your home – yoga, bodyweight exercises, dancing, even running. Home equipment might be just the incentive you need.

Owning a treadmill, like the Proform Sport for instance, will allow you to run to your heart’s desire without being whipped in the face by the winter chill. You can even trick yourself into thinking you’re sprinting up hills by adjusting the incline.

"Home equipment might be just the incentive you need." Image: iStock.

And for extra sneaky points, park it in front of your TV/laptop and catch up on Game of Thrones at the same time. Pro tip: run like Jon Snow is waiting for you at the finish line.

2. Embrace online tutorials.

Working out at home doesn’t mean you need to be entirely responsible for your own training or motivation. The great thing about the internet is that there are some brilliant fitness tutorials out there that provide all the benefits of a live-in trainer without having to, you know, interact with another human.

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Invest in a yoga mat for home. Image: iStock.

Yoga and Pilates videos are especially popular. Simply get yourself a mat, like the Celcius Yoga Mat, roll it out in the living room and follow the instructions on your screen (be sure to select an online instructor who is appropriately qualified, of course). You don’t even need to get out of your PJs to do this, and you’ll reap the benefits of toned muscles, greater flexibility and improved posture.

3. Keep it hard and fast.

One benefit of winter workouts is that they’ll get your body warmed up - especially if you choose an activity that really builds up a sweat. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, will do the trick, and the best part is you don’t have to go at it for too long to meet your exercise requirements. HIIT involves exercising at your peak heart rate for short periods of time with rests in between.

Boxing is one exercise that works well in this format. Having a boxing bag and gloves of your own means you can take even 15 minutes out of your day to pound out your winter frustrations and build up a sweat, before resuming your Netflix marathon (which, unfortunately, doesn’t count as physical activity).

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Boxing is a great form of exercise that gets your heart rate up. Image: iStock.

4. Recover properly from the comfort of home.

Regardless of whether you brave the chill outside or exercise from the safety of your living room, you really can’t go neglecting your warm up and recovery just because it’s cold and you’d rather get your workout over and done with. In fact, this process is pretty dang crucial if you want to ward off injury.

Foam rollers - yes, those colourful cylinders of foam you see everywhere - are handy tools for before and after your workouts. Rolling parts of your body over a roller like the Spri High Density roller can help release muscle tightness, ease soreness, and enhance your muscular range of motion. And no, you don’t need to be outside in the cold air to do this.

5. Squeeze in incidental exercise when you’re already out of the house.

Thanks to those things called ‘families’ and ‘jobs’ and ‘responsibilities’, it’s not really possible to ride out the cold months under a pile of doonas (oh, if only...). You’re going to have to leave the house eventually, so capitalise on that and squeeze in as much incidental exercise as you can.

A reason to finally do some much needed housework. Image: iStock. 

By wearing a tracking device like the Fitbit Alta, you don’t have to think twice about this. You’ll be able to see your step count and find sneaky ways to build it up through the day (volunteering for the office coffee run, anyone?), as well as keep track of how much time you spend not moving at all, which can be a sobering thought.

The device will also send you friendly reminders throughout the day to keep moving - something that’s easily forgotten when you’re busy at work.

How do you stay motivated to exercise in winter?