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How To Have Fun And Lose Weight In The Winter Cold With Exercise
In warmer weather I go kayaking several times a week and ride my bike as often as possible. Dogs take long dog walks near the next lake as a midpoint watering destination, there are roller blade queues nearby at Hudson Mills Metro Park for a Saturday or Sunday morning skate. The lake is now frozen, only a couple of kayak paddles will take place down the Huron River in non-frozen stretches, the bike and roller skates just don’t perform well in the cold, let alone snow. I’ll see diehard bikers out there, but the wind chill on my face doesn’t amuse me. So what happens to most people’s weight during the winter?
It’s officially winter in December, and there are two to three big food-eating holidays close together. So most people add a few pounds on every vacation if they haven’t kept up their physical activity. This happens when we stay inside watching more stuff on TV while stuffing our face. The present is the time to do something about it, and don’t wait until your clothes don’t fit you or wait until spring when shrinkage work is a bigger chore. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or have a PhD in nutrition (neither am I) to understand the simple equation between inputs and outputs. If there is more food input and less exercise output, what is not used is stored. This storage space builds up around your other half.
According to James O. Hill, PhD in medicine at the University of Colorado, most of us gain weight by eating only 100 to 200 extra calories a day. More than two-thirds of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Why am I interested and why am I writing about it? Well, there are adverse health effects of being overweight and this drives up the cost of my health insurance and my taxes. Not to mention it’s embarrassing to come from a country full of fat out of shape. As we age it becomes more difficult to lose weight as most people do less. For some, getting older means that they stop exercising and stop engaging in fun, active activities. People forget how physically good it is to carry around less weight.
People go on fad diets that are difficult for many, they want you to give up everything something, sugar, bread, all carbohydrates or massive food reductions. These are changes that for most people they can’t maintain. Therefore changes must be easy and easy to maintain. Simply change the equation, reduce your food intake a bit to just a few hundred calories a day, and exercise more. Find something you enjoy doing that burns calories, or find a new activity you may not have considered.
It’s winter, so most of the fun, calorie-burning activities will be outdoors. I find working out in a health club within exercise boring and not fun. Indoors there is volleyball and basketball, squash, hockey and perhaps a few others, however these involve meeting other people and booking time on the court. These can be fun and good activities but again they are not easy to maintain on your own. Find something you can do on your own, preferably several times a week. For calorie-burning winter sports there are so many activities like cross-country skiing (one of my favourites), there’s hiking, there’s snowshoeing. None of these require much skill and aren’t that expensive to enter if you don’t have the equipment. For hiking all you need are good boots and the right clothing.
Yes, it can be cold outside, but with the right activity and winter clothing, being outdoors in the winter can be very pleasant. Technology has brought warmer and lighter clothes to better enjoy the cold. The secret to staying warm is not to overdress when you’re going to have strenuous activity in the cold, if you’re just a little cold at first, that’s a good sign. The other secret is layering with the correct base layer, usually polypropylene, so that sweat moves away from your skin to keep you warm. Dry clothes are warmer than wet clothes. If you’re not sure about the right clothes, go to an outdoor store and ask for assistance. I have found the knowledgeable REI sales staff to be one source example, there are many more. Find a shop that has experience in staffing. This is not likely in department stores. Internet research is another good way to learn about outdoor gear.
Another way to stay warm in the winter while training is to stay outside large open areas if it is windy. Go hiking, cross country skiing, hiking or snowshoeing in the woods. The winter wind doesn’t enter the woods so much. The woods can be very serene and beautiful under a blanket of snow; a side benefit of exercising in the woods is that it can be an attitude adjustment. On a quiet sunny day, being outdoors can be pleasant and warm: sunbathing, taking winter vitamin D.
Experts say not to weigh yourself every day, however for me if I see the pounds climbing and staying on the scale for a few days then I know I need to either reduce my intake or exercise more. It takes self-control to reduce your intake, but it doesn’t take much, just remember the 100-200 calories a day. If your clothes are too tight and you need the next size up. Hello, you are eating too much; don’t buy the next size up, do something about it. If you’re already overweight, start changing the equation, it doesn’t have to be drastic, just consistent. The easiest way to lose weight is to find fun things to do that don’t feel like exercise, don’t make it difficult to cut back on food but be mindful of cutting calories. Do it for yourself, do it for your health, and do it to keep your health care costs and taxes down. Above all, get off the couch and do something fun and active.
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