In Chicago, during the winter our patterns of activity tend to change. Our options for outdoor exercise are more limited. Cross-country skiing can be fun, but there are relatively few days where the snow is optimal for this, and many runners do not enjoy running in winter weather.
For many of us, winter weather brings out our instincts to stay where it is warm and cozy — near our firesides or under our heated blankets, as far away from the outdoors as possible. For people who are fitness-driven, this poses a problem: staying in shape typically requires venturing out of the house, whether you usually jog through your neighborhood or trek to the gym. Keeping up your motivation to work out at this time of year can be tough. But with the latest in winter-friendly fitness recommended by the Whole Beauty Institute team, you can create a cold-weather workout routine that you won’t give up on, even on the harshest winter day.
High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the trendiest fitness topics of 2017 and 2018. HIIT uses alternating periods of extreme exertion and active rest — for example, a minute of rapid jumping jacks followed by 30 seconds of walking in place — to boost your oxygen intake, raise your heart rate and stimulate your metabolism. The result is a calorie burn comparable to that of cardio, with an added benefit of a post-workout afterburn effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC takes effect when your body continues to consume oxygen at a higher-than-normal rate after your workout, burning extra calories in the process. HIIT is the perfect winter workout because you don’t need equipment, training or much space — you can fit a round of HIIT reps into 15 minutes or less, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
Bodyweight Strength Training
Like HIIT, bodyweight training is a flexible fitness option for your winter routine. Equipment-free and easy to follow, bodyweight exercises like push-ups, crunches, and squats can be done in your living room or basement — it’s accessible no matter how much snow is on the ground. Research shows that bodyweight and resistance training can be just as effective for strength training as weightlifting. With strength training, though you do not burn as many calories up front as you do with cardio, but you do build significantly more muscle. Adding muscle not only helps achieve a well-toned look, but it also boosts your everyday metabolic rate. If you are looking to get a little more out of your home strength training, you can invest in a set of free weights, a resistance band, or a medicine ball — easily-stored equipment that can add an extra challenge to a normal bodyweight routine.
Indoor Fitness Activities
If limiting your exercise to your own home starts to give you cabin fever, it might be time to brave a snowy drive for your workout. Living in the greater Chicago area means there are innumerable fitness facilities at your fingertips — urban and suburban areas alike often have plenty of indoor workout resources. Check your gym’s class schedule or research fitness studios for a variety of classes like barre, boot camps or yoga. You can also try one of the multitudes of specialty gyms in your area for activities like rock climbing, martial arts or CrossFit. It’s also likely you can find a way to mimic your favorite warm-weather workout with an indoor alternative: try swapping your bike commute for a spin class, moving your morning run to an indoor track or joining an indoor sports league. If you can seek a workout outside of your home, indoor fitness activities can be exactly what your workout needs to stay fresh all winter long.
Our Team at the Whole Beauty Institute can help you achieve your Fitness Goals
Sometimes the greatest impediment to exercise is frustration with a resistant body zone that refuses to respond to a disciplined routine. If you need an extra boost of motivation to improve your fitness or physique, contact the Whole Beauty Institute — Dr. John Cook, our expert plastic surgeon, can help you schedule a cosmetic body sculpting procedure like BodyTite, laser liposuction, SculpSure or BodyFX. To learn more about the body sculpting services we provide, contact our Chicago or Winnetka offices today at 312-751-2112.