Are you stuck in a winter fitness rut?
You probably aren't the only one. Every year I see the local health clubs fill with bored treadmill runners, distracted elliptical users, and plenty of people just going through the motions of exercise. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are many fun and effective ways to stay energized and keep the exercise intensity high all winter long. You may, however, have to step out of your comfort zone.
Here are a few fabulous and effective ways to shake up your stale workout routine, break out of a rut, feel energized, feel the burn, and perhaps help you get in the best shape of your life this Winter.
- 5 Creative Ways To Feel The Burn This Winter
- 6 Tricks for Maintaining Exercise Motivation
- Use Music To Boost Exercise Motivation
Athletes can be a bit picky when it comes to their clothing, gear and fitness equipment, but there are a few great gifts that everyone who exercises will love.
If you are still searching for a great gift for the active people in your life, check out this year's Top Picks: Gifts for Athletes.
If you are sticking to a budget this year, or need a great stocking stuffer, you can't go wrong with these Fitness Gifts for $30 or Leass.
If you still haven't found the perfect gift, these 20 Unique Gifts for Athletes and Fitness Buffs offers something fun for everyone from the serious athlete to The weekend warrior.
Holiday schedules can wipe out all the fitness gains you've worked hard to achieve. It may not be reasonable to expect that you are going to maintain a tough training schedule during December festivities, but that doesn't mean you should toss out training altogether.
You can maintain a considerable amount of cardiovascular fitness, and strength, as long as you modify your workouts and focus on a few basic concepts until you get back to your routine.
- Focus on Quality.
Research shows that getting two, shorter, but high intensity cardio workouts of 70-75 percent of maximum heart rate each week can help maintain aerobic fitness.
- Do a Morning Workout.
Those who exercise first thing in the morning are more likely to do it. You can avoid distractions and decreased will power as the demands of the day pile up. and you are far more likely to do it!
- Do Bodyweight Workout.
You can save time and get a workout anywhere by relying on a solid body weight routine. Skip the travel time to a gym, and get it done fast.
- Do this: An Exercise Routine for Everyone. If you want to get in better shape in 2013, but keep it simple, try this basic routine to build and maintain excellent fitness.
The bottom line on maintaining fitness with limited time? It boils down to your personal fitness goals & your current level of fitness, but by making fitness a priority, you can get more done in less time, keep you weight down, and your fitness up until your 2013 routine kicks in. Happy training!
There is still time to get the perfect holiday gift for the athletes and exercisers on your list. Here are some of the most popular products that meet any budget.
Top Fitness Gift Ideas - Lower Budgets
- Brooks Trail Running Shoes - Compare Prices
- Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch - Compare Prices
- Saucony Grid Stabil - Compare Prices
- Weighted Vest - Compare Prices
- Kettlebells - Compare Prices
- Foam Rollers - Compare Prices
- Trigger Point Massage Balls - Compare Prices
- Heart Rate Monitors - Compare Prices
- Superfeet Insoles - Compare Prices
- Scrip Spidertech Calf Tape - Compare Prices
- Luminox Navy Seal Dive Watch - Compare Prices
Top Fitness Gift Ideas - Bigger Budgets
- Concept 2 Rowing Machine - Compare Prices
- Treadmills - Compare Prices
- Elliptical Machines - Compare Prices
- Spin Bike - Compare Prices
- Stair Climbers - Compare Prices
Your Best Fitness Gift Ideas
Want to add your ideas to the list? Tell us about the best (or worse) fitness gift you've ever given or received.
Not all exercises are beneficial for every athlete. It's important to tailor your exercise to fit your goals, as well as your fitness level. And even the best athletes can have some pretty bad exercise habits that, over time, can lead to an injury.
Every athlete has a different level of tolerance and fitness, and while there isn't a "one-size-fits-all" approach to training, there are some practices that have a higher possibility of injury. So, keep in mind that what is safe for one athlete may cause an injury in another.
Do you know how to spot, and avoid the most common exercise mistakes?
Personal training is big business and if you haven't hired one, you probably know someone who has. But how do you know if you really need a personal trainer? And if you choose to hire one, how can you tell the good from the bad?
To decide if a personal trainer might be helpful, or downright necessary for you, you can make a pretty accurate assessment just by taking a look at your habits, goals, and progress. Are you stuck in a fitness rut, never losing those last 15 pounds, random and haphazard with your exercise routine, bored or frustrated? A personal trainer can get you on track and provide structure to move towards your goals. But this is only the beginning of the list of reasons you may want to consider working with a personal trainer. See if you you identify with the other reasons a trainer might be right for you.
Once you decide to hire a trainer, how do you know the good from the bad? One of the most obvious things most people seek out in a personal trainer is personality and being a good fit. And yes, this is definitely an important part of the equation. But there are a few other, more objective, factors you may want to look for when you hire your next trainer. If you already have a trainer, this checklist is a fine way to determine if you are getting all you can from your investment of time, sweat and money.
The best way to prevent colds and the flu still include the basics: wash your hands, and avoid touching your face. The most common way a cold or flu virus spreads is by touching a contaminated surface (doorknobs, keypads, cell phones,) and then touching your face, particularly the mouth or eyes, so the first line of defense is to keep the virus out of your body. But that's not always possible, and we can easily pick up a virus. That's when our immune system takes over. And there are many simple ways to help our immune system do it's job: stay hydrated, don't smoke, eat well, get enough sleep, and yes, exercise.
Research continues explore the link between exercise and immunity. The bulk of evidence seems to find that moderate, regular exercise may lower your risk of catching colds and help keep your immune system in good shape. According to David C. Nieman, director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, moderate exercise seems to increases the recirculation of important immune cells from bone marrow, lungs and the spleen, which ultimately help 'clean up' the body. The key, however, is moderation. There appears be a point where too much exercise can actually increase your risk of catching a virus.
If you have a hard time sticking with a moderate exercise routine through the cold and flu season, you have another option for improving your immunity. An interesting study out of the University of Wisconsin found that meditation may work as well as moderate exercise as a way to prevent cold and the flu. Of course, more research needs to be done, but exercise and meditation have so many benefits that it's probably worth considering. It just may be your secret weapon to prevent against illness this year.
Read More: Exercise and Immunity
- Moderate Exercise Boosts Immunity
- Exercise and Immunity - How Much Helps, How Much Hurts
- Should I Exercise With a Cold?
- Tips for Avoiding Germs at the Gym
Each year, researchers learn more about the long-term damage that even a minor head injury can cause. And while most of the focus has been on NFL or college football players, they aren't the only ones at risk. Anyone who plays a sport with a risk of collision or impact could end up with a concussion or another head injury. Impacts with other players, equipment, and the ground can happen without warning. One way to reduce your risk of serious injury is to wear the right safety gear. If you are planning to ski or snowboard this winter, consider protecting your noggin with a helmet.
Compare Prices - Ski Helmets
Experts recommend that skiers and snowboarders wear a helmet in order to reduce the risk of a head injury while skiing. Ski helmets help absorb the shock of an impact to the head, and reduce the jarring of the brain against the skull during impacts with the ski slope or other objects, such as trees or other skiers.
The right helmet substantially reduces the risk of concussions and other serious head injuries. Look for a helmet that meets ski and snowboard helmet standards from the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), European Committee for Standardization (CEN) or Snell.
More Ski Safety Tips
Photo (c) Tim Barnett/Getty Images
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries any athlete will experience. It may be difficult to avoid that missed step, uneven ground, or trip off the curb, but if you've practiced one simple exercise, you may walk away without a serious injury.
Using balance training, including a balance board and one-leg standing, can significantly reduce your risk of suffering an ankle sprain. Once you've sprained your ankle, you're at much higher risk for another ankle injury, so it's even more important to perform balance training exercises as a part of rehab, and to keep doing them as part of your regular workouts.
One study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that a proprioceptive balance board program is effective for prevention of ankle sprain recurrences. Another study found that balance training reduced the risk of noncontact inversion ankle sprains in high school football players.
Learn more about a balance training and rehab program
- Balance Training and Proprioception
- How To Build Joint Stability After an Injury
- Balance and Proprioception Training Products
- A Simple Balance Exercise Reduces Risk of Ankle Sprains
How do you find your motivation to exercise when it gets darker, colder, and wetter?
Although it may feel like the perfect excuse to begin a winter hibernation, plan for the holiday feasting, and stay closer to a fire and a cup of hot coco, the changing seasons offer an excellent opportunity for beginning a whole new fitness routine. But making this change can take a little bit of trickery and cunning. And yes, this is the perfect time to use a bit of reverse psychology, including: Tip #1. Fake It Til You Make It, and Tip #2. Outsmart Your Excuses!"
Check out the entire list: Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Exercise Motivation
Make this winter the winter of health, happiness and regular exercise. Start now, build a new fitness routine, and you won't regret that extra slice of pumpkin pie and scoop of ice cream once the holidays roll around.