If there’s ever a time when commitment to exercise is tested it’s on those Winter days when it’s dark, cold and all too tempting to stay in bed. However, Winter also tends to make our bodies go into hibernation mode, meaning we need exercise to fight off sluggishness and extra body fat.
Virgin Active’s National Product Development Manager, Ceri Hannan, says that the goal of winter workouts is to avoid big weight fluctuations: “getting out of the warm house and braving the cold is half the challenge won and then the key is to keep your workouts fresh to maintain motivation”.
Ceri offers five easy ways to make the most of your winter workout time:
1. Treadmill hills. Instead of the usual treadmill warm-up, turn up the incline and try getting your heart rate up with hill sprints. Try doing 8 sets of 20 second sprints with a 10 second rest in between each.
2. Squats with bells. For those determinedly using the winter months to work on summer bodies, squats are one of the easiest and most effective moves. You can add a kettle bell or moderately weighted barbell for an extra challenge. Work to a 40 second on, 20 second off ratio and try to do 3 sets.
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3. Push-up challenge. With a continuously running clock, do one push up on the first minute, two on the second minute, three on the third and so on, for as long as possible. Try this push-up challenge with a workout buddy to keep each other motivated as the rest periods get shorter.
4. Big burpees. Yes, burpees have a bad reputation for being tough, but on the plus side, especially in winter, is that they offer a quick full body workout. If you need a break between sets of a traditional kind (stand, squat, push-up, jumping jack), try an easier version in-between by eliminating the push-up. And if you’re looking for an extra challenge, try switching the jumping jack to a high-knee jump.
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5. Bike music. If lower intensity is what you’re looking for, then an hour on the bike will give you a workout that’s less demanding. To keep your energy up while cycling, refresh your workout playlists with some upbeat songs that fight off the winter woes.