We make hay while the sun shines, but as soon as the temperature falls we dread leaving the cozy, warm indoors. All the health activities that we pursue all year round take a back seat and our bodies get used to the inactivity. Today you have multiple options of staying fit indoors even during the cold winters without falling sick. The only safety precaution is to wear warm clothing in layers and not to overdo any activity. It’s time to get off your couch and begin the calorie burn!
A few simple ways of exercising and maintaining fitness during the winters have been listed below:
Yes! Walking can be fun even in the snow. In fact, walking in the snow tends to burn double the amount of calories than walking on a plain surface as you need to push harder to pave your way through the snow. Remember to wear the winter clothing in layers so that you can pull them off as you get warmer.  And while you are walking in the snow, a little bit of slow running or playing around can increase the fat burning and also increase cardiovascular endurance. Make sure it’s all on snow, never ice!
2. Take the stairs or the street:
While you are at home or at work, try to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. While you take a break, walk up and down the stairs of your office building or your apartment. If you have to reach a place, take the street and see how much fitter and warmer you feel than an average winter day.
3. Winter sports:
There are various winter sports which make for good fun and also serve as an excellent form of exercise. Cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating can be safely pursued to burn calories while you enjoy the snow.  These activities strengthen muscles as well as burn up to 600 calories an hour. The best part is that these sports can be taken up by any age group keeping up with the necessary safety precautions.
4. Indoor activities:
Swimming in an indoor pool can serve as an excellent fitness activity.  If there is no pool nearby, don’t worry, you can buy an aerobics DVD and work out right at home. Various forms of yoga and Pilates, to condition the body and mind are available on DVDs. Yoga is very gentle on the joints and muscles and can be taken up by the elderly too. Pilates develop flexibility and agility in the body.
Your favorite activity can also be a fitness program. Enroll yourself in a dance class and learn new forms of exercise. Be it salsa, jazz or jive. Dance away while you burn the fat! If going to a dance class is not feasible, just put on your favorite music and dance like no one’s watching. Brisk movements of the body in the form of dance for about 20 minutes can burn up to 300 calories!!
6. Cut down on the winter treats:
Last but not the least, it is extremely important to cut down on those calories before you start a workout. It is common to feel hungrier during the winters while you are tucked in your warm bed. A small snack to munch on every now and then becomes common place. If you really want to stay in shape and not put on extra pounds, stay in control of your cravings and remind yourself, ‘munching now and again, leads to weight gain’!
Contributed by Dr.Rachita Narsaria, MD