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Nov 11, 2021

Don’t Hibernate!

Your Anti-Hibernation Guide for Cold Weather Workouts

When the first hint of cold weather mornings and dark nights, our bodies seem to turn on an internal sensory that says to our minds – “girl, snuggle back in the bed and just stay nice and cozy.”  Or if it is night, the mind might say – “girl, now you know some hot chocolate along with some cookies sure would be nice, comforting and good right about now.”  We all know that as the weather changes to cooler temperatures, we have the tendency to become less active or not active at all.  It is a struggle to remain active during the colder months.

Caution ahead:  The further we sink into the winter doldrums, the harder to claw our way back out of them.  Have you ever seen a bear drag itself out of a cave after hibernating?  Me neither.

I can just imagine and envision it is pretty darn difficult after long winter months of napping, sleeping, slacking and snacking!

Your best defense to continue your workout routine during the winter months is to create an action plan.  Our minds will tell us – “it’s too cold to go out.  It’s too cold to even move, all I want to do is stay under this blanket.”

Take time to write down daily activity.  Treat it like a real set appointment.  We all know or have either heard it before that exercise is a mind thing.  Keeping active during the colder months may require you to talk out loud to yourself as well.  You may need to give yourself a pep talk, encourage words and to remind yourself that it won’t be winter forever.  Spring and summer roll around and you’ll be wanting that summer body to squeeze into those racerback tops and swimsuits.  Sometimes we have to be the one that talks ourselves into doing something, because there are always excuses waiting around the corner to talk us out of them.

For those of you that live in regions that have snow, think about getting active in winter sports such as ice skating, skiing, or sledding.  These activities will utilize muscles that aren’t normally used during your running activity.

Those 5Ks and 10Ks that take place during the winter months? Go ahead, sign up with a friend.  Although it’s cold outside, they’re so much more fun with someone or a group of friends.  After the race, have hot chocolate ready for all of you or go out to eat in a nice, cozy café’ to warm up!

Taking your workout indoors can also provide an exciting variety.  Taking advantage of an indoor pool for a pool workout, engaging in a game of basketball, tennis or volleyball all prove to be excellent cardio activities.  Taking a water aerobics class in an indoor pool will also give your muscles and joints a rest from the regular pounding on the pavement.

In addition, yoga is a way to love on your muscles and joints and give them the opportunity to be stretched and used in a more loving, caring way while you are taking a respite from the pavement.  Whatever you choose, remember that stretching is key, especially after any workout routine.

There are also exercises that are known as “stealth” exercises.  Doing things such as walking the mall, vacuuming, mopping, rearranging furniture, and my favorite ~ dancing, are all exercises that get the heart rate up and are forms of exercise.

Research has shown that winter months can bring one down mentally.  Staying active during the winter months strengthens the immune system, and we all need that especially during these times.

You may be faced with a serious temptation to shut down and hibernate during the colder months, but finding creative ways to stay active make it more enjoyable, and you’ll be ready to tackle spring with more energy and your ability level will increase!

Don’t hibernate! Stay active and preserve the sexy!

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.