It’s probably safe to assume that most of us would prefer to snuggle up and watch a movie when it’s cold out rather than catch a workout. Unfortunately, though, this can lead to unwanted calories at what can be the most stressful time of year.
To help combat holiday weight gain and encourage healthy lifestyle choices, we spoke with several local fitness gurus who shared their perspectives on the best wintertime fitness methods and exercises.
The first step? Don’t be afraid to transform your living room into a fitness studio.
“Basic squats, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers are the easiest things to get you moving and focused on working on your fitness goals,” says Jay Gangwani, owner of KORE Training Systems. “The main thing is having the focus and willpower to do it on your own and crush your goals.”
Sometimes, getting a workout is as simple as moving the couch out of the way.
“Some of our favorite movements, like air-jump squats and half, full-range, or hip-skip burpees, can be done almost anywhere,” says Jeremy Grace, owner of Wildlight Wellness Collective. “We love what we do because we get the chance to take someone from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I did’ in the same session. It’s amazing to watch the confidence rise in individuals we work with.”
Shorter, colder, and darker days can lead to a lack of motivation when it comes to exercising. Between the holiday feasts and treats, though, it’s important to keep up a regular fitness routine.
“During the holidays and inclement weather, our overall activity decreases. This is the primary reason we gain weight during the winter,” says Roger Aaron, owner of Body Check Fitness Management. “Our calorie count goes up while our activity goes down. The end result is typically a five- to 12-pound weight gain this time of the year.”
Luckily for Triad residents, winters tend to be fairly mild, which means the weather often can’t be used as an excuse to get out of a workout.
“Fortunately, North Carolina winters aren’t harsh,” says Aaron, who works closely with corporate fitness centers, as well as provides personal training for anyone who wants to increase their overall health. “As long as the wind chill is not an issue, bundle up and go for a walk.”
He suggests walking for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes at least three days a week for the best results. And since Winston-Salem is becoming more health conscious, from restaurants to fitness centers and an abundance of parks, these fitness experts agree that the city is a great and unique place to get and stay healthy.
“Winston-Salem supports health in a big way,” says Grace, who became fascinated with fitness at a young age, but recently switched tracks to focus on yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda. Being a downtown business, we see events supporting people walking, running, and biking everywhere.”
Kristie Shifflette, owner of Orangetheory Fitness, agrees.
“Winston-Salem has grown dramatically over the last couple years,” she says. “There has been plenty of growth with healthier food options becoming available, and more fitness facilities popping up.”
There are also several unique spaces throughout the city, including greenways and art parks, which provide folks an opportunity to get their heart rates up.
“We have many parks and greenways that are great places to go and be active. Winston-Salem is a great city to be fit and healthy,” says Aaron.
But winter brings its own fitness and health myths. There’s a big misconception that exercising outside will lead to catching a cold, and Shifflette wants to dispel that notion.
“Cold weather doesn’t cause the common cold. Facts show that in extremely cold weather, viruses are not able to survive,” she says. “So if you enjoy exercising outdoors during the winter, grab your cold weather gear and continue your fitness routine.”
One of the biggest — and most dangerous — rumors about working out in winter versus summer is that the body doesn’t need as much water during workouts.
“During cold months, you may not feel as thirsty, but your body still requires adequate hydration,” says Shifflette. “Always use the same hydration guidelines in winter as you would in summer.”
Gangwani, who has a degree in exercise science and kinesiology and began working with a trainer in NYC, eventually bulking up to 220 pounds from 140, also stresses the importance of a well-rounded diet and hydration.
“Without proper nutrition and hydration, your body will not recover properly, nor will it respond the way you want in order to achieve your goals,” he says. “A true fitness professional or nutritionist is able to guide you on the right ways to eat for your body.”
Whether you don a beanie or a toboggan, or are exercising to get in shape or keep a healthy body and mind, the conclusion is simple: just get moving.
Want To Go?
367 Lower Mall Drive, WS
Wildlight Wellness Collective
612 Trade St. NW, WS
KORE Training Systems
4794 Kinnamon Road, Suite B, WS
Body Check Fitness Management
353 Jonestown Road, Suite 199, WS