November 21, 2013

Fitness For All Seasons, contributed by Emily Stone

With readers from all over the globe, myself and reader turned guest contributor, Emily Stone (fellow fitness freak and health food addict) teamed up to offer fitness tips for every season. Different environments and climates bring their own set of challenges to our healthy mindsets and our ability to reach set fitness goals. Read our tips for exercising no matter the weather, giving you no excuses, only motivation to dodge those Christmas pounds.

Fitness in Spring and Summer 

In great juxtaposition to the Northern Hemisphere, an Australian Christmas is usually spent outdoors at the beach or by the pool, and this year is going to be a hot holiday!

Sweltering weather can challenge your fitness routine; your workout can last five minutes when you are sweating before you start, with outdoor walks and runs swapped for movie days indoors, air-conditioning blasting. But holidays also bring parties and special occasions where champagne is guzzled, mince pies are gobbled down and cheese platters replace your usual healthy dinner options. Exercise is more important than ever during this time, which means you must have a plan in place.

Embrace the warmer weather

While you may be on holidays, far away from your gym membership, you can always find a way to incorporate exercise in your daily routine. Do laps in the hotel pool to burn tones of calories, try soft sand running to tone up your legs, attempt surfing or boogie boarding to work that core or try water skiing if you are feeling adventurous. You can even set up a volleyball net in your backyard pool. Whatever the activity, you can make your workouts fun and effective. If all else fails, be sure to check out the hotel gym or get a temporary pass to one near your getaway. 

Create a comfortable workout zone

I cannot workout in hot weather. I loathe it. After 15 minutes I feel I have run a two-day marathon and collapse in a heap (I am not cut-out for the heat). If you also need a cool environment to exercise in, make sure you go to a gym with an efficient air conditioning system, allowing you to go-go-go on those cardio machines without losing half your body weight in sweat. If your gym is in a warehouse or loft, you may want to reconsider; these facilities are impossible to cool.

If you are lucky enough to have an air-conditioning system at home, pop that on about 10 minutes before you start your at-home routine. Whether this is doing an exercise DVD, or following your own routine, it will be that much easier to complete if you are comfortable.

Make sure your workout attire is made of breathable fabrics, like cotton, and replace thick tights with shorts. If you are braving the outdoors, a hat and plenty of sunscreen is a must. If you are hitting the water, make sure to reapply suncream and take cover at the hottest times of the day. 

Eat smart!

Spring and Summer is when you can embrace eating lots of fresh fruits (mangoes, peaches and cherries - yes please!) and live off big salads. Make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated and try fresh coconut water for a hit of electrolytes to combat the heat. 

Freeze fruit for a delicious snack (grapes and kiwi fruit are my favorites) and make sure to BBQ lean chicken skewers instead of sausages. Instead of the calorie laden cheese platters are family gatherings, cut up carrot, celery and zucchini to snack on with hummus or avocado dips. 

Fitness in Fall (Autumn) and Winter by Emily Stone

If you are in the currently chilly Norther Hemisphere, you will be feeling the chill of the impeding winter. While colder weather brings with it sledding, snowball fights, ice skating and too many cups of hot cocoa, for those who are easily discouraged by the cold, the approach of winter could also mean the demise of your workout routine.

Fear not hibernators, the winter weather doesn’t have to mean your health & fitness has to go into hiding too. With a little preparation, and a few helpful tips, you can keep up a routine that will carry you through to spring.

Dress smart

If you choose to continue with outdoor workouts (kudos to you) be sure to dress smart. While you may want to wear every sweatshirt in your closet to stay warm, it is actually a better idea to only wear one or two layers of clothing. Yes, you may be a bit chilly at first, but as soon as you start moving, you will warm up rather quickly, and you don’t want your body to overheat. 

A good idea is to wear lighter layers, so you can remove them as needed throughout your workout. Fitness magazine has great ideas for winter workout clothes if you’re in need.

Plan ahead

One of the best ways to stick to your workout schedule is to plan in advance. Check the weather for the week ahead. If some days are going to be little warmer than others, perhaps on those days you will plan to run outside. If you know on a specific day that you will have to work later than normal, try to get your workout done in the morning before you head out. With the busy holiday season, schedules can get a bit crazy. I find it helpful to keep workout clothes in my car or office, that way I can squeeze in a quick workout when the time permits. 

Take your workouts indoors

There are plenty of workouts that are effective AND can be done in the comfort of our own, warm home. If you don’t have any workout machines, improvise! A stability ball and a set of weights are enough to get a full body workout. I recently purchased both from Beachbody. You can also try out an at-home workout video. Nowadays, there are videos for all types of workouts - dance, kickboxing, martial arts, yoga – you name it, there is most likely a video for it. Find one that interests you and give it a go. Try YouTube to test some out for free.

The winter is a cozy time a year, filled with family, friends, hot drinks, and sweet treats. It’s easy to hide under big sweaters and coats, but if you let your fitness routine take the backseat for too long, you will emerge from your winter slumber a few pounds heavier, and a serious fear of trying on your neglected bathing suit. If you don't let your fitness slip, you will be that much more excited for the warmer months to come. 

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