by Staff Writer
With shorter days and colder temperatures, it can be difficult to maintain your fitness during the winter. Holiday feasts don't help, either. Fortunately, it can still be easy to exercise through winter and achieve a healthy level of winter fitness. You just need to be creative; find a winter sport, act like a kid, change your winter fitness routine and stay positive.
Find a new sport. One of the first things that will help you to get better exercise and maintain fitness in the winter will be to realize that your winter exercise will probably be different than your summer exercise. When motivation drops in winter, find an activity that is more about fun than what you might think of as just exercise. For example, snowshoeing can be a real blast, but it also burns a lot of calories and is easy enough the whole family can do it together, making it a perfect winter exercise.
Play like a kid. Play with your kids. Either way, you're sure to have lots of fun and burn some calories at the same time. Hiking up the sledding hill several times is good exercise, and the slide down is fun enough to keep you motivated. Building snowmen might not be the most aerobic activity, but it still keeps you off the couch.
Warm up. Some people really enjoy winter running, but it's important that you warm up properly if you want to run in the winter. Thoroughly perform your warm-up routine indoors to get your muscles loose and your body temperature up. It's easy to overdress for winter running or any winter workout, and a longer warm-up inside will let you start with clothing more appropriate for the middle of your run. Winter is also a good time to make your warm-up more of an actual exercise routine, including working muscle groups you might ignore for the sake of specialization.
Stay inside. There are a lot of ways to stay fit inside your home. Stair climbers, exercise bikes and treadmills provide great lower body and cardiovascular workouts. Home gyms let you work your whole body and come in compact designs. Exercise balls let you focus on your core muscles, which can be easy to forget.
Stay positive. Don't feel bad because you aren't doing as much as you might during the rest of the year. Negative thoughts make it tougher to stay motivated. Consider winter a time to give yourself a rest while still maintaining your fitness levels.