However, once it starts getting dark earlier and the cold winds of winter start blowing, people go inside and hibernate until spring returns again.
I have noticed many people do not exercise much over the winter or their physical activity drops off a lot. Many patients lament that it’s too cold outside to walk. Or they say, “I’m afraid I’ll slip on the ice or snow.” While these might be legitimate reasons to not want to exercise outside in the winter, that does not mean you stop exercising all together.
You Need a Plan B
When people have had weight loss surgery, it is very important to be physically active to lose weight AND keep the weight off. Physical activity needs to be done most days of the week and done consistently.
If you normally do your physical activity outside, you need to have a plan B during the colder months. That means coming up with a way you can exercise indoors and/or plan for colder weather outdoor activities.
7 Strategies to Get Moving Over the Winter
1. Consider joining a gym or use your local recreation center.
Joining a gym can be costly, however, it provides year round opportunities to be physically active. Many gyms have a variety of weight training and cardio equipment, as well as, various fitness classes. Local recreation centers may offer similar services as a gym, and possibly at a reduced cost.
2. Purchase exercise equipment for your home.
Many people have treadmills, exercise bikes, other cardio machines and weight training equipment in their homes. Having a home “gym” is great to use during inclement weather or anytime.
3. Investigate what TV stations are available to you.
There may be channels dedicated to exercise you can tune in to for your winter workouts. You also may be able to download various exercise videos. These videos allow you to take a variety of exercise “classes” without going to or paying for a gym membership.
4. Enlist an exercise “buddy.”
When we have a friend to workout with, it helps us to stay on track during the tough winter months.
5. Acclimate yourself to colder weather workouts.
Some suggest warming up inside first, so when you go outside to begin your workout you are already warm. Get the appropriate cold weather clothing and dress in layers. Dressing in layers allows you to remove clothing if you get too warm or add on layers if you get too cold.
6. Pursue a winter sport/activity.
Have you ever thought about learning to ski, ice skate, snowboard or go snow shoeing? Increasing the variety of activities that you can do all year round makes exercise fun and a lot more interesting.
7. Set a specific goal.
Train for an event — look for a 5K or another fitness event to work towards to keep you motivated during the dark days of winter. Couch to 5K is one app that may be helpful.
Weight loss surgery patients may experience weight regain or hit a weight loss plateau due to less physical activity. If you tend to exercise mainly in the warmer months and your workouts drop off in the winter, now is the time to come up with your Plan B.
Dietitian’s Corner by Lori Skurbe
Dietitian’s Corner is a monthly column for post-op and pre-op patients of bariatric surgery in NJ written by Prime Surgicare’s Lori Skurbe. Lori has been a dietitian for over 20 years with an extensive background in weight management, bariatric nutrition and diabetes education.