Does the prospect of wearing scarves, parkas and extra layers of clothing put a damper on your enthusiasm to hit the gym? These tips from holistic fitness expert Eva Pelegrin, founder of Attune Holistic Fitness in New York City, can help you winterize your workouts by tweaking your daily routine to keep your body, mind and spirit in harmony, no matter what the outside thermometer says:
It’s winter cold and you don’t feel like going to the gym--don’t. Stay indoors and move it. The best gym
equipment you can ever have is your own body, so the main thing you need is willpower and imagination. Start trucking up the staircase! Walk one or two flights and alternately run one or two flights, pushing off mid-foot to help work your butt. Walk down fast, then repeat. You will be amazed how the real thing is so not like a Stairmaster.
If you only do one exercise, here’s one that will give you a total body workout anywhere. Start with a jug filled with water or other harmless liquid. Stand in a clear space with your feet shoulder width apart and place the jug close to your left foot behind your toe line. Keep your feet planted, hips square and back as straight as possible. Squat down and reach left to pick up the jug with both hands and quickly lift it up and across, as if to toss it on a six foot high shelf that is behind your right shoulder.
You should be rotating your torso and hips to the right. Immediately reverse the movement to lower the jug exactly where it was. Once you get the motion down, repeat as fast as you can for 10-15 reps. More reps can make this one a killer cardio workout. Switch sides with the jug and repeat for three sets. You can also use a backpack or other bag and adjust the weight to your ability.
Diversify your portfolio of protein and fat
Spread your protein and fat consumption throughout the day. Meals that contain more healthy fat and protein than carbohydrates keep your amino-acid levels high to enhance mental an emotional wellbeing, and promote stable blood sugar and higher energy levels. This not only makes you feel better, but also facilitates fat burning and appetite control. Conversely, high-carb diets combined with a lack of exercise can result in a gloomy mood, or even depression.
Stay away from sugar, alcohol and caffeine within six hours of bedtime. Getting sleep and getting rest are not the same, and any of these can interfere with a truly restful night’s sleep. Over time, such rest deprivation amplifies the impact of stress and can raise levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol; alter thyroid hormones; and decrease your output of human growth hormone and testosterone. These hormones directly affect your ability to gain or maintain your precious muscle tone, a healthy sex life, and deal with the many trials of life.
Stand up for yourself
Poor posture is a self-fulfilling prophecy of gloom. Research shows that the way we carry ourselves reflects our general level of health. Since the two are interconnected, you can improve your organs health, including your confidence, simply by improving your posture. So, practice carrying yourself erect, but relaxed – with the bearing of someone walking down the grand staircase in the movie Titanic.
Plan ahead in order to get moderate and regular sun exposure, especially during the winter months when any sun is better than none. Moods tend to descend with temperature and daylight duration. Sunlight elevates both mood and sex drive by boosting testosterone and serotonin production. The sun also radiates ultraviolet and infrared waves which have been shown to enhance mood and contribute to your general well-being (light bulbs do not). Sunlight deficiency, on the other hand, can lower serotonin levels enough to bring on depressive symptoms.
--Eva Pelegrin is a Fellow of Applied Functional Science, and Founder of Attune Holistic Fitness in New York City.