Every Winter I go through the same routine, unless I’m training for a mid Winter half: I figure I’m not training for anything, so it’s time to really hit the strength training. Often after months of ST taking a back seat to running.
Not giving up on ST, but . . .
Not this year. I am strength training, yes, because use it or lose it — those muscles will shrink and you’ll get weaker every year if you don’t keep strength training. It’s important!
Winter isn’t the time to go hard. We are hard wired to want to go inside and rest and recover during the short, snowy (for us!) Winter days. Even though our electricity means we can work out 24/7, it’s still not what our bodies need. I found an interesting read on the hibernation habits of some humans here.
I have been using a lot of Pahla Bowers’ Workouts for Women over 50 (but any age can benefit) found on her Youtube channel here. I’ve followed her for many years, but I love that recently she’s begun to showcase many workouts with cardio and weights — but no jumping. Trust me, you’ll still get a good workout!
I run, and I usually do at least long run a week, and another run that’s speed work or hill repeats. Maintaining my fitness base overall.
It’s ok to pack on a few pounds
I’m not giving you permission to chow down at every holiday party. I recently read an article (which alas, I cannot find), that said yes, we’re hard wired to want to eat more during Winter. It goes back thousands of years to when food was scarce during Winter.
We crave comfort foods: high fat, high sugar, carbs — all foods that can insulate us and give us energy. Deny yourself the foods your body is sure you need, and chances are instead of losing weight, you’ll struggle even more. You can read more about why we may gain weight during Winter — and reasonable things to do about it — here.
What’s a health-minded person to do in Winter?
Does that mean I’m throwing in the towel on maintaining a healthy weight during the Winter? Heck, no! Just as I’m not going to throw in the towel on running during Winter, because I don’t want to have to start over with C25K, neither am I just throwing up my hands & saying what’s the point of eating healthy if my body is just going to fight me anyway?
It’s natural to gain a little bit. Just keep an eye on it and make sure a little bit doesn’t turn into permission to #eatallthefood. Accept that you may be a little fluffier in Winter (what are cozy sweaters for, anyway?), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to move that fluffier body.
This Winter I’m trying to give in a little. To accept that I’ll be up a few pounds, but to make sure I don’t turn a blind eye about how my clothes are fitting. To continue to move my body, but take it just a little easier on it so that I get a true off season. To try to work with my body and the natural rhythms of the season, instead of fighting nature.
When Spring comes, I’ll be ready to get out there and go hard again after a Winter of semi-hibernation!
To everything there is a season.
Do you change your healthy lifestyle with the seasons?
Are you enjoying an off season now?
Does Winter send you running for the comfort food?