It happens. Sometimes a few extra pounds will creep up on you during the winter months. Don’t worry, though. With fresher, lighter foods and some outdoor activity that doesn’t feel like work the way plugging away on the treadmill would, the extra weight will melt right off. Getting outside and enjoying some sun is the fun way to work off your winter tummy.
Fun Outdoor Activities
With springtime comes the desire to get outside and enjoy the sun. Breathe the fresh air, celebrate the fact that the snow finally melted (or in the very least, the air is no longer frigid if you didn’t have feet of snow).
You probably knew the first recommendation for getting outside to enjoy the warm weather and fun way to work off your winter tummy was going to be hiking. Hiking allows you to be alone with nature and enjoy beautiful sights and sounds of the world waking up after a long winter.
Beyond helping you lose weight and toning your lower body in the process, hiking has other health benefits, like:
- Lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides
- Reducing blood sugar and increasing glucose tolerance
- Better mood
- Lowered risk of heart disease or cancer
Find hiking trails near you at one of these sites:
Riding Your Bike
When you can’t go outside for a hike, there’s no reason to stay inside to get your exercise in. Whether you live in a city or a more rural area, you can ride a bike for pleasure with no particular destination in mind, or you can use your bike in place of your car to do errands, get to work or school, or meet up with friends. It’s a great way to build exercise into your day. If you were going to drive to meet your friend at a café anyway, just ride your bike instead. It won’t take that much longer and you won’t feel obligated to do a separate workout later.
Riding a bike offers a fantastic workout for your legs and butt (and even your core and upper body!) and it makes it easy—and fun—to work off the winter pounds. It’s good for people who need a low-impact workout, too, unlike running, jogging, or crazy workout programs that have you jumping around for the better half of an hour.
Pretending You’re a Kid Again
There’s something especially freeing, light, and fun about just letting go of all your adult responsibilities and doing some of the activities you loved as a kid:
- Pick up a Frisbee and a friend and head to the park to toss it around
- Hula-hoop in your yard
- Go skating
- Jump rope
All of these can help you lose weight and tone up. Aside from the hula-hoop (maybe, unless you have a collapsible style), they’re all pretty portable. So if you go on a trip for spring break, you can still take your outdoor “fitness gear” with you.
Practicing Sunrise or Sundown Yoga
We always advocate having a yoga practice, but when the weather warms up, you can take your mat and your practice outside. It may feel especially energizing to do yoga before work as the sun’s coming up, or especially relaxing to end the day with some sundown yoga.
You already know the benefits of yoga from previous posts, like stress and anxiety reduction, better mood, better control over cravings (or fewer cravings completely), but you also get a more toned body and possible weight loss. Different types of yoga yield different weight loss results since some are more vigorous than others, but find the style that works for you and feels good to you rather than using it solely to torch calories.
Walking to the Store (or No Particular Destination at All)
Walking’s so simple, yet we often don’t do it when we could. Instead of hopping in the car on a beautiful day to go do an errand that’s only a mile or two from home, walk. Or walk without a destination in mind, just to soak up some of that sunshine you’ve been missing all winter and celebrate life. It feels good to slow down sometimes and just stroll along instead of fighting traffic and maneuvering your car into and out of a spot in the parking lot. That alone could provide a little stress reduction!
Go for a Swim
If it’s warm enough where you live, jump into a pool or lake and go for a swim. This is a full-body workout that will have you back to your toned physique in no time, and it almost never feels like work. Benefits of swimming (in addition to weight loss) may include:
- Decreased risk of chronic diseases
- Reduced joint or muscle pain
- Better cardiovascular health
- Improved mood
- Decreased anxiety
Why You Should Enjoy the Sun
Sun exposure has developed a bit of a bad reputation, but getting a little (don’t bake in it!) is actually beneficial. If you have pale skin, you need less sun than someone with darker skin to get the benefits, and prolonged exposure could put you at more of a risk for developing skin cancer.
One of the main benefits of sun exposure comes from the way it helps your body produce vitamin D. You also get to enjoy better sleep and a happier mood. One study showed that a little sun exposure could even help alleviate symptoms of asthma. Additional perks from spending five to ten minutes in the sun (preferably in the morning) may include: boosted immune system, a reduction in melanoma risk, and a reduction in appearance of skin conditions like psoriasis.
We’re not saying you should never wear sunscreen or bask unprotected in the sun for hours at a time, just that a few minutes of sun exposure per day can be amazing for your health. If you’ll be out more than that, it’s important to protect yourself from excessive exposure to UV rays.
Wrap Up — Tell Us What You Think!
If you gained any weight over the winter months, that’s understandable! Let us know if any of this post was helpful, or if there’s additional tips you’d like to know about.
Spring is an amazing way to shift your diet and lifestyle back to a way that can support a leaner, lighter body. But sometimes you need a gentle nudge, or a little help.
So please let us know if there’s any way we can help you in the comments below and we’ll do our best to address it in a future post!