Staying Fit During Fall And Winter
Local experts share tips for maintaining that summer bod throughout the upcoming wintry weeks.
Staying fit in the summer is a breeze, but fall and winter are another story. With colder temperatures and less sunlight, you’ll likely be tempted to move less and eat more. So how can you keep your workout—and belly—from going to pot? Here are tips from some top local experts.
Warm Up. Cold weather increases your risk of tears and strains, so you should begin every training session with a good warm-up. “Make it a warm-up that moves,” says Pamela Newkirk-Arkin, group fitness manager at Equinox in Scarsdale. “A gentle jog, jumping jacks, skipping rope, or running up and down a staircase three to five times are good choices.”
Be Consistent. Don’t slack off when the mercury dips, warns Nikki Dillon, studio director at YogaSpark in Mamaroneck. She explains that, in winter, “our muscles take on a lot of stress by contracting more often and working harder as we move through the elements,” so we can best support all this hard work by keeping circulation strong and joints moving. Dillon recommends a regular routine that combines yoga three times a week with additional in-gym or at-home workouts.
Combat the cravings. Fewer daylight hours and more time indoors can mean an increased urge for high-calorie comfort foods, says Eva To, a registered dietician/nutritionist in White Plains. “It’s important to practice portion control, especially with fats and refined carbs,” she says. She recommends eating regularly every three to four hours, since it’s harder to fight cravings when you’re very hungry.
Don’t Overdo It. Many people find gyms boring, particularly after a summer spent training outdoors, says Chesevah King, a US Army veteran and current trainer at New York Sports Clubs’ Mamaroneck location. As a result, she says, they do too much, too fast, which can lead to injuries. “It’s best not to run six to 12 miles on a treadmill if you weren’t doing that outside,” she says. “When you first move indoors, keep within your workout range.”
Ramp It Up. On the other hand, some people don’t realize that treadmill running is generally easier than outdoor running. Luke Guanzon, a personal trainer with Life Time Athletic in Harrison, says that, to compensate for this difference, increase the incline on your machine. “I like to set the treadmill at an incline of three or four,” he says. “So you’re actually lifting yourself up and not just lifting your feet fast.”
Think Spring. If it’s hard for you to bid farewell to your summer workout regimen, try cutting the pain by thinking six or eight months ahead. “In the winter, it’s good to work on getting stronger for next spring,” says Leo Lopes, owner of Total Form Fitness in Hartsdale. He adds that indoor equipment—such as medicine balls, dumbbells, kettlebells, and leg-extension machines—are great at isolating muscle groups.
Stick It Out. Finally, don’t discount the idea of training outdoors even when temperatures plunge, says Hollis Morris, an instructor and marketing manager at Pure Barre in Bronxville. “Exercising in colder temperatures has been shown to be more invigorating, which can result in a harder workout and more calories burned,” she says. And, as long as you build in a good warm-up, she adds, “Don’t be afraid to brave the cold!”