It’s easy to let yourself go a little bit when the weather gets cold. It isn’t as easy to stay fit when you have to bundle up and suck down cold air to get a workout. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s encourage us to eat and drink heartily. The cold weather often leads us to socialize more in bars and restaurants, rather than through outdoor activities.

But winter is no excuse to forgo healthy living. Here are a number of ways you can stay in shape when it’s cold.

Join a gym
When the weather is nice, gyms can be a bit of a bummer. After spending all day cooped up indoors, it’s understandable that you’d want to get some fresh air in your free time. But when it’s cold and dark outside, the gym may be the safest and most effective way to get in a workout. Gyms range in services and cost, but you won’t be wasting money as long as you go regularly.

Buy heavy winter clothes
If the idea of walking a couple blocks to the store is unbearable, you may not have the right winter clothes. You can endure and even enjoy the outdoors at just about any temperature as long as you have the appropriate apparel. A big winter coat, wool socks, a winter hat, a scarf and long underwear are all items that can turn a miserable winter slog into a delightful winter stroll. For more serious outdoor exercise, consider buying a layer of breathable, tight-fitting clothing that wicks away sweat while providing a warm layer against your skin. You can then add a jacket, cap and gloves as needed.

Try working standing up
Our bodies were not made to sit down for eight hours straight. Studies have found that sitting for prolonged periods of time is linked to a number of negative health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In fact, even putting in quality time at the gym cannot make up for the damage done by sitting down all day. Consider getting a standing desk or finding another way to work standing up for part of the day.

Prepare healthy foods –– in advance!
It’s hard to make good food choices when you’re hungry. When your stomach is already rumbling, you’re likely to choose the quickest option, and that’s usually not going to be a very healthy one. It’s difficult to make yourself a healthy meal every day, but a good practice is to carve out a little time over the weekend to make yourself a large batch of healthy food that you can eat throughout the week.

Stock up on healthy snacks
It’s much easier to resist the vending machine when you’ve got your own snacks in hand. Fruit is a great option (almost everybody could eat more) and so is a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter. Some prepared snacks –– granola bars and the like –– are healthier than others. Just try to avoid the ones with lots of added sugar.

Learn to like regular coffee
A good old-fashioned cup of joe is a healthy way to warm yourself up on a cold winter morning. A large white chocolate mocha…ehhh…not so much. Many popular coffee drinks are loaded with sugar. Life will be easier, cheaper and healthier if you learn to love regular coffee, whether black, with cream or even a (little bit) of added sugar.

Do you have other ideas for staying healthy during the cold winter months? Tell us about your methods in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter!


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