Last Updated on November 8, 2017 by Michael Brockbank
The winter months have potential for making exercise difficult for many. This is especially true if you live up in the mountains of Colorado. Sure you can go to the gym in a nice warm and cozy facility when it’s cold outside, but what if you don’t have the money for that? Perhaps you don’t have transportation to get to the gym. In either case, you can still work up a sweat at home.
Is it Cold Outside? Time to Heat Yourself Up
For many of us, the temperature is dropping quite rapidly. I went for a walk this morning and slid on the thin sheet of ice that sits outside my patio door. So, what can I do to get my heart rate up when it starts getting cold outside?
Yeah, I know. Housework doesn’t sound all that engaging. However, you’d be amazed by how much it impacts your body…especially if you put in a great deal of effort. In fact, you can burn as many calories in 20 minutes of cleaning house as you would in an aerobic workout. I’ve tracked this in the past using Fitbit to monitor my heart rate.
Don’t think of cleaning the house as a chore. View it more as a way to work up a sweat and burn some calories. Try to gamify it if you can. For example, I like to monitor how many calories I burn in 20 minutes of cleaning and then try to beat that number the next day.
Not only will house cleaning give you a workout, but it also makes the home more presentable. And clutter often creates stress. So in a sense, you’ll be giving your home a more stress-free feel by committing yourself to 20 heavily active minutes of cleaning.
Even those who admittedly cannot dance will do so in the privacy and comfort of their own home. In fact, I dance around a lot when I am by myself. Yes, my cats look at me with concern as they probably think I am having a seizure. However, the music often moves me to flail around like an idiot.
Dancing is a heavily active, and often fun, activity. While you probably won’t burn as many calories slowly waltzing to a depressing love song, something fast-paced will surely help you work up a sweat.
When you’re home alone, throw on some tunes and get “jiggy wit it.” I know…I am dating myself a bit. But that’s OK. Because when you’re home alone, there is no judgments and you can enjoy yourself as much as you’d like. I often dance around while I’m house cleaning.
3. Cleaning the Outside
To be honest, I am looking forward to snow. Since I gamify fitness, I am constantly looking for challenges to keep my mind engaged. I am quite eager to see how many calories I can burn shoveling snow for a specific amount of time.
Although it may be cold outside, some things you still need to do to prepare for winter. In the next day or so, I still need to climb up a ladder and pull out the leaves and branches from my gutters. This probably won’t burn a lot, but it’s an activity that needs to be done.
What if you live an apartment complex? You can always volunteer to shovel snow at an elderly home or your neighbors houses down the street. You’ll burn calories while looking like a hero to the neighborhood. Not only will this help you keep the weight off from holiday snacking, but it should feel good to help others in need.
4. Practice Yoga
Keeping the body limber has a lot of potential real-world uses. For one thing, being limber helps protect your body from various injuries. Flexibility assists in many areas, and you would easily benefit from anything yoga-related.
Yoga is literally something you can do from virtually anywhere regardless if it’s cold outside or not. While you might look a little strange going into a downward dog pose while riding the bus, it’s still a possibility. Personally, I’ve added more yoga into my routines simply to help with pains of age.
A lot of people jump on the commercialized bandwagon of buying mats, pants, blocks and bottles for yoga. In reality, all you need is yourself. While some things may make the experience more comfortable, they’re really not necessary.
5. Reorganize the House
This one can go along with cleaning. Many people like to change-up the appearance of the home by moving furniture around. Although some rooms are not structurally set up to be a good canvas, it’s still worth a try for the sake of getting a workout.
Besides, you never know what you can do with a room unless you try. You may discover a new way to set up the television even if there is a fireplace in the middle of the room. I think it’s fun, really.
If you decide to move the room about, make sure you don’t over do it. Some things are going to be heavy, and you’ll want some assistance. Otherwise, you may wind up hurting yourself by putting too much strain on your body. Yet another reason to workout and build defined muscles.
6. Fire Up the Xbox Kinect
Although the Kinect is being discontinued by Microsoft, it’s still one of my favorite tools for exercise. This is especially true of days when it’s cold outside. For one thing, it keeps you active and entertained – depending on the game.
The Xbox Kinect has helped me lose the first 40 pounds of my weight whether it was cold outside or a nice summer heat. Thanks to the outrageous movements I make and having games I enjoy, I easily melt more calories in a 30 minute session than the most grueling aerobic workouts. It’s all in a matter of how you play.
I hope game developers take what the Kinect offered players and come up with alternatives. It would be a shame to see something so brilliant fade away, especially in a country where one-third of its adult population is considered obese.
7. Do-It-Yourself Remodeling Projects
Another element that is somewhat related to house cleaning, DIY projects around the home offer a bit of activity while accomplishing a goal. For instance, slapping up a new coat of paint in the living room is great exercise while changing its appearance.
I enjoy DIY projects, as long as I can afford it. However, I do have access to a steam cleaner and other tools that allow me to revitalize my home for cheap. I just have to be mindful of what I want to do because I rent at the moment. I really miss owning a house.
The hardest part about DIY projects is that you need to be motivated and commit to working. Some changes are physically taxing and require a bit of know-how, such as laying down new carpet. If you can find the drive, you can burn off some calories while improving your home’s value.
It’s Cold Outside, but You Can Still Exercise
These are only a handful of things you can do to work up a sweat when it’s cold outside. The bottom line is you need to keep yourself active. Some days the weather will be just too rotten to really do much, but you can’t let it stop you from being healthy. Find things around the house that will keep you engaged and moving.