Total Therapy Blog

Winter is Here

This article was written by our KinesiologistMae Nakano.

Over the years, I have been incredibly lucky to have worked with a large variety of patients: from Olympic athletes to weekend warriors, teen athletes, toddlers to elderly, children with disabilities, ICBC patients, and those in specialized Occupational Rehabilitation programs for WorkSafeBC. No matter the clientele, I love the idea that the patient and I work together as a team– I am a knowledgeable guide while the power is in their hands. Let’s accomplish your goals together!


Winter is here…

You know what this means: cozy sweaters, massive blankets, holiday love, and most commonly a huge drop in physical activity levels! I feel you. Darkness comes a-knockin’ way too early in the evening and lingers for a little too long in the morning. It’s difficult to throw off our comfy duvets and warm slippers to exercise between our daily life routine.

Here are 6 tips on how to combat the annual winter laziness:

1. Do it at home, so there’s just one less thing to think about.

I get pretty overwhelmed when I have too many place to go, things to do. But exercise should not be a source of mental stress! You can make it simple for yourself and stick to exercises you can do in an easily accessible environment. You don’t even need much equipment! I can get a decent workout in my apartment with my extremely minimal home gym fits in a rubber tote (see here).

2. Use full-body exercises, so you can get a fuller workout in less time.

The days are shorter but, and especially during the holidays, there’s still 24 hours’ worth of things to do! I have my 4 main favourite exercises, all basic movements, that I do at home:

  1. Planks
  2. Push-ups
  3. Squats
  4. Split squats

When you break down and analyze the exercises, you’ll notice every single one uses major muscle groups from head to toe (neck stabilizers to the arches of your feet). Each of those movements are easy to link together or combine with other movements to keep it interesting, like a squat to shoulder press.

3. A HIIT program will increase your caloric output, and also help shorten your workout time.

That’s short for “High Intensity Interval Training.” Movements are sped up to maintain a higher heart rate, therefore to burn more calories, for a relatively shorter period of time, which helps to cut down on your overall workout time. If you’re like me and your energy levels drop as soon as the sun does, you’ll appreciate the short workout that targets both strength and cardio so you can get back to being cozy!

4. Try some feel-good exercises, to help combat SAD symptoms.

Good posture can change your mood, and good posture requires a certain degree of strength and endurance in the right places. Just a theory, but if you can keep good posture for longer because your workout promotes this, and good posture can give you a good mood, then maybe it’s worth trying out? Probably doesn’t hurt (unless you have pre-existing conditions). Check back to this old blog post for some thoughts and ideas.

5. Find a winter substitute for your summer love.

My crazy ultramarathon-running dad is stoked on getting his feet wet (probably literally) in snowshoe-running this winter. Me, in a much more casual fashion, I’m shifting my focus back to indoor-based sports like bouldering in a gym, which is quite different– although just as enjoyable– from outdoor. Take advantage of the weather, whether you adapt to it or you return to something you wouldn’t necessarily do during the warmer seasons.

6. Do something you enjoy, so you can keep a regular routine.

‘cause what’s the point of stressing about exercise when it’s supposed to be de-stressing!

Whatever you do to stay sane in the winter, keep it up! You’ll rise from your winter cave fit and ready come spring, and we will all revel in each other’s wonderful, fit glory! (Did that work? Are you motivated?)

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