Winter Fitness: 6 Tips for Staying in Shape This Winter in NYC!
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Staying in shape in New York City during the winter, especially in high density areas like the Upper West Side, can be challenging. While outdoor exercise in UWS can be a real challenge, there are many activities and tips that can help you experience the benefits of a workout no matter the weather. Winter exercise clothes, connecting with a personal trainer or physical therapist professional or certified team in your neighborhood, and finding the perfect workout plan are some of the best places to start.
The cold weather and short days are here to stay in NYC and the northeast until March/April. And as you may know for yourself, everything can get tougher in the winter, including getting regular exercise. This is especially the case when you have to navigate the wind tunnels in the streets of New York City. But there are ways to navigate the cold weather impediments to fitness. You still have plenty of options and therefore no really good excuses for getting totally out of shape this winter.
Remember, the nice weather isn't that far away, although it probably doesn't feel like it or even matter on those freezing cold days when all you want to do is be indoors and sip hot chocolate. But the time is actually right to begin training for the spring and summer. Whether your goal is to go on long bike rides with your friends in the spring, try competing in your first triathlon next summer, play in the local softball league, run around with your kids pain-free or go on day hikes with your girlfriend, the time is now to begin preparing.
Doing so will make your training program more efficient in the short and long-term and reduce the risk of injuries that can arise when one is de-conditioned. So check out the tips below for some help staying fit for the next three months until we move the clocks forward and enjoy the increasing daylight.
Take a Break from Work. It may not be easy to go to the gym when it is pitch black early in the morning or freezing when you leave the office. So, perhaps try taking an exercise break during the work day. Maybe to do this you might arrive at work earlier or stay at work later to make up the time. And you may be pleasantly surprised how much more energy and calm you experience after you get your sweat on and take a nice mid-day hot shower during the workday!
This is especially the case on those stressful days dealing with your overbearing boss, stuck behind your desk for hours on end or gritting your teeth through lengthy and unnecessary meetings. Studies show that workers are more productive when they take breaks and get exercise during the day. Make sure to tell your boss that if she gives you a hard time about leaving the office for an hour.
Buy Some Winter Gear! Riding a bike on the westside highway or running in freezing 15 mile per hour winds just isn't fun. With that said, gearing up the right cold weather clothing can make this easier and perhaps even enjoyable. Have you ever tried jogging outside with some windproof and cozy running-wear? It can actually be quite refreshing. Doing so with snow on the ground and trees all around you can be relaxing and even meditative. Try it!
Work Out at Home. You may already have a solid home exercise program. If so, keep it up! If you don't, perhaps now is an opportune time to start. You don't have to be at a health club or cycling outdoors to get a great workout. With some bodyweight exercises, calisthenics, exercise bands, some weights and perhaps an indoor bike trainer, you'll have no problem getting a good workout at home.
Even if you live in a small NYC apartment, you can still get your sweat on or pump your muscles up. Push-ups, planks, pull-up bars, lunges, step-ups using aerobic steps, jumping jacks, burpees. clamshells, side walks using a resistance band and so much more, you really don't need a gym. HIIT workouts, Pilates exercises, yoga poses and physio ball exercises are all at your disposal. And you can even have a personal trainer come to you.
So the bottom line is, no excuses! Lift yourself off of your couch and start moving! Put on some workout clothes and pump up the music or leave the TV in the background.
Partner Up! If you find it just so hard to get to the gym or the spin studio, find a parter who can push you and hold you accountable. Or perhaps there is a running group you and a friend can join. It's not easy to go it alone for everyone, especially in the short and cold days of winter. So find someone who is dedicated and who has a similar workout style, fitness level and work ethic to you.
Find a Personal Trainer: Having consistent 1-on-1 or semi-private personal training sessions will provide guidance, motivation and accountability. It can also help you reach your short and long-term fitness goals more efficiently and successfully than going it alone, especially if you have ambitious fitness and performance goals for the winter or even in the spring and summer. It's never too early to start training as long as it's safe and effective.
Do you have injuries? Are you out of shape after recovering from the flu or taking an exercise hiatus? Well then it's ok to recruit some expert help getting you back on track. That's where a highly-skilled personal trainer can be a valuable asset.
Take Group Classes: Whether you enjoy group fitness classes or not, taking them when it's cold outside might provide some extra incentive and consistency. Working out with others in a fun and energetic community taught by an inspiring teacher might be what gets you motivated to exercise when you are more inclined to chill in bed with the dog, or your partner. More likely the dog right?
Try Winter Sports. Ok so maybe skiing just isn't your thing and never will be. You're not alone there.
But there are many other fun winter activities available to you, even if you live in the city and/or haven't tried them before. Have you tried snowshoeing or gone on a winter hike? With beautiful open skies and fresh air all around you, the cold may not seem as bad. This is especially true if you go with a fun group, guided tour and have the right gear. And don't underestimate the fitness value of flag football with your buddies or sledding with your kids. Those count too!
We hope these tups are helpful as you push your way through the winter. While it can be admittedly tougher in the winter to stay in shape, there are still a lot of great options at your disposal. Once spring roles around, you'll be happy you put the work in.
Stay warm out there! And keep moving!
Mark Greenfield is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer and Active Release Techniques provider in New York City. He has over 16 years of experience helping clients prevent and recover from many types of orthopedic and sports injuries. His practice is centrally located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.