5 Great Winter Workouts to Keep You Fit, Warm, and Indoors
Winter is here, and for most of us, that means publicly complaining about being confined indoors, sitting comfortably on a couch, with a blanket, perusing local eats. There's no denying the allure of hibernation, but it's no way to pass the winter. By February, your energy level is at its annual low, seasonal affective disorder creeps in, and you've eaten a lifetime's worth of pad Thai in front of the TV.
To put it plainly: exercise is hard, and frigid air makes winter workouts seem nearly impossible. So, what to do? That, my friend, is when you turn to indoor exercise classes. They're fun and go by fast, which is the best solution for people who don't like to exercise during winter (or at all). Here are some of the best winter workout classes you should be signing up for before the cold rolls in.
Bear with us here. Our solution for integrating winter workouts into your life is not simply to go in a heated room and do some stretches. Bikram Yoga is a 90-minute class that includes a flow of postures combined with breathing exercises. The temperature of the room usually ranges from 95-108 °F with a humidity of 40 percent. In sum: You're going to sweat. A lot.
But that's not all the hot temperature does. Practicing yoga in a heated room warms up your body from head to toe, increasing blood circulation, which can make your muscles more flexible. Between the heat, the movement, and the release of toxins, you burn more calories than an ordinary yoga class. Practicing yoga is also beneficial in the mental health department (aka the winter blues). The concentration and meditation performed in during class helps in decreasing anxiety, stress, and depression. And yes, a heated room in the middle of winter doesn't hurt.
Are you always cold, no matter where you are or how many layers you're wearing? It could be because you have poor blood circulation (or that your office building needs to invest in a better heating system). Improved circulation is a health benefit from exercise that doesn't get enough attention. With a class like kickboxing, it increases your heart rate and circulation throughout your body. It also simultaneously tones your upper and lower body. Kickboxing is both fun and empowering since it doubles as learning self defense. Have fun, get in shape, and learn how to protect yourself at the same time.
Picture this. You're at a bar that plays the best music on a Saturday night. What do you do? You dance. Now subtract the drink in hand and factor in sensible shoes. That's zumba. It's a workout that feels more like a dance party, but with all of the health benefits. Zumba is a high-energy class set to the beats of salsa, flamenco, and merengue music. You'll work up a sweat while moving and grooving in this class. It's a great way to get your cardio in, but it also can strengthen your core, improve flexibility, and even improve your rhythm! Who knows, you might even learn some new moves for next Saturday night. If you're feeling a little too shy, bring along a friend to laugh together until you're comfortable.
Cardio not your thing? No worries. Pilates is a little more intense than yoga but not as upbeat as kickboxing. This workout emphasizes your body's core, including abs, obliques, thigh, and more. Like yoga, it can reduce stress and improve your posture. Pilates emphasizes good form instead of burning calories (though it does that too). Pilates is like a combination of all the exercise your body needs, strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination, balance, and good posture. Before you know it, you won't be slumped over at your desk. Each class will help your correct your spine alignment, which can even reduce back pain.
Yes, you read that right: pottery. You might not think of this as exercise class, but it can be both therapeutic and relaxing. The act of molding clay takes concentration and repetition. It teaches your hands and mind to work in unison. Pottery class can foster your creativity and self expression. It also gently exercises the hands, wrists, and arms; it can especially be helpful for those with arthritis because it promotes joint movement and dexterity. If you're trying to find winter workouts, pottery class should be on your list. You can make yourself as many bowls to for all that pad Thai.
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