During the cold time of year, it is not always easy to get excited about sports. On the one hand, the possibilities are limited this winter 20/21 due to the restrictions in the context of the Corona pandemic because of the hygiene measures. On the other hand, many people wonder whether the cold air outside during outdoor activities is actually healthy. Scientifically and practically, however, it is clear that sport and exercise in the fresh air strengthen the immune system. For those who are put off by the temperatures outside, there is also the possibility of practising sport at home in winter without a gym.
Sporting restrictions due to the hygiene measures
This year everything is different: sports facilities and gyms have had to remain largely closed for weeks and there seems to be no prospect of indoor training with all the equipment of a gym in the near future either. On top of that, many people are additionally moving much less due to the conditions of home office or short-time work. Exercise and sport, however, are essential tools for maintaining the immune system and cognitive performance. So doing without sport in the cold season should not be an option.
It's no secret that many people find it much harder to exercise this winter. However, it is important to keep in mind that you will fall miles behind if you completely give up on yourself and use not being able to go to a public sports facility as an excuse for not being able to exercise. There are options and solutions for every challenging situation. First, you can ask yourself which of the solutions suits you best:
Exercises during the winter months - outdoor sports or Sweating Indoors?
In general, for health, whether mental or physical, sport is an important point. Outdoor and indoor exercise both have their advantages and disadvantages:
Outdoor sport gives us the opportunity to go running, ride a bike, do sprint training or even train at an outdoor facility with pull-up and dip bars or other equipment even in winter. You can also use your own equipment. Resistant bands, mini loop bands, dumbbells or kettlebells are suitable for this. More ideas will follow in another section. It is important to choose the right clothes and to warm up more carefully and for longer periods of time. In the cold season, it makes sense to wear a cap or headband to keep the ears warm, and a thermal sweatshirt and long sports trousers should also be worn. As always with sports, drink enough water. In the fresh air, you are less exposed to potentially infectious aerosols such as those from Covid-19 than indoors. Nevertheless, care should be taken to keep enough distance from other people.
For those who find the cold air unpleasant and perhaps also have the space at home to train at home with equipment they have purchased themselves, there are many training and movement variations available: Power yoga, body workouts (push-ups, squats, lunges, jumps, jumping jacks, abdominal exercises, etc.) Strength training with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, stair steps, bands or a pull-up bar are just a few examples of the many possibilities at home. Fitness from home also offers advantages: You save time because there's no need to go to the gym or outdoor facility, and it doesn't matter what you look like doing it. In addition, you are also flexible in terms of time and the session is not dependent on the weather. When you exercise at home in winter, you hardly notice that it's winter.
In the end, you don't have to choose one or the other, and for your immune system and therefore your health, it's even beneficial to exercise outdoors and indoors. How about sprint training once a week in the fresh air, fitness exercises at home three times a week and daily walks with warm clothes in the cold season?
Staying fit throughout the cold season - mentally and physically
This winter, it is especially important to maintain or perhaps even rebuild physical fitness through outdoor sports. As already mentioned, the Corona pandemic means that we move less in everyday life, and the situation also poses psychological challenges. Many feel lonely or useless, and it is precisely then that sport should not be missed. After short, intensive training sessions, happiness hormones are released, the immune system is strengthened and blood sugar is stabilized. This leads to eating less out of cravings or defiance and also burns a few more calories. In addition, sport gives you a routine and stability, so that you at least maintain this element for a structured daily routine. Afterwards, you've done something and especially after exercising in low temperatures, it's a wonderful feeling mentally and physically for the body to jump under a warm shower and enjoy a well-deserved meal with a healthy appetite.
Staying fit in winter to be able to really take off in spring and summer makes a lot of things easier...
Winter exercise activities - this is how you can workout outdoors:
A good warm-up for outdoor sports is a must: If you then want to do strength exercises in low temperatures in winter, you should definitely start with mobility exercises that prepare the muscles for a large range of motion under more intensive tension. Controlled, slow lunges where you push your knee far forward with your hands above your head are good. A deep squat, placing the hands in front between the legs and alternately stretching one arm far back at a time, prepares the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders and spine for later stress. After a few exercises like these, jumping jacks or jumping rope can be used to activate the circulation and the nervous system. Warming up should not be underestimated; if it is not done conscientiously in the cold season, injuries can be provoked.
There are numerous opportunities for exercise in an outdoor fitness facility even in winter. A good tried and tested method is to first train global exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, toes to bar, because for these exercises the body needs a lot of nervous system and tires faster. In the gym, this would also include exercises like heavy squats, bench presses or deadlifts. However, because there are not enough weights outside for high intensity, they can be used in the higher repetition range in the second part of the workout. For example, you could do four rounds of pull-ups and push-ups alternating with six to ten repetitions each. A break of 90 seconds between sets makes sense here. This could be followed by a circuit of lunges, squats, an abdominal exercise and plank to push up at a fast pace with twenty repetitions each.
Exercising at home in winter instead of outdoor sports?
Those who prefer to work out at home during the cold season have many options for workouts. If space is limited and you have little or no equipment available, then short sessions with fast movements for a limited time are suitable. For example, four consecutive 30-second workouts per exercise that work the entire body are useful. After this circuit, a break of 45 to 90 seconds can be taken, depending on what is needed. The block will train four to five rounds. Then follow the same system with a new block of four other exercises. Push-ups, squats, jump squats, lunges, abdominal side raises, leg raises or mountain climbers can be completed here.
If you have dumbbells and bands, you can train even more specifically and do isolated exercises. It should be noted that if the weights are not high enough, the training effect is reduced, and it makes sense to use more global exercises - especially if the goal is body fat reduction. You will hardly lose fat on the arms if you only do isolate triceps and biceps exercises, the body is too complex for that. Fat - even in smaller areas - is lost through global exercises, a lot of time under tension and fewer rest periods.
Chest training at home, like shoulder training at home, is best done with push-up variations, dumbbell shoulder presses and the floor press. The triceps are always trained as well. The upper back can be trained at home with bent-over dumbbell rowing and side raises, but the Superman on the stomach exercise and rowing with bands are also suitable. The lower back and rear thighs can be trained with dumbbell Romanian deadlifts. Isolated butt exercises at home can be supported by a mini band above the knee. Glute bridges, hip thrusts, hip abductions and squats could be done with it.
Outdoor sports and training in winter is possible even under the current difficult Corona measures. You need the right clothes, if necessary simple equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells or bands, which can be purchased on the internet. The sessions can take place indoors or outdoors.
Ideally, you should get some exercise in the fresh air every day, even if it's just a walk.
As there are numerous possibilities for different types of training and exercises here, just like in the studio, and there is also a risk of incorrect execution of the exercises, it always makes sense to have the support of a professional coach. Sessions on Zoom or advice and individually tailored training plans are currently offered online by a wide range of training studios. For example, the MTM Gym in Berlin offers such memberships, where you are coached for at least four weeks, receive professional training and nutrition plans and receive holistic advice.
Two of our home workout videos and a mobility routine by Supz Nutrition are available here:
We wish you a successful outdoor training or for all those who like it: more sport at home - even during the lockdown and the cold winter months and a happy new year!