The winter is tough on tennis athletes. The weather outside is less than inviting, the holidays cause us to shovel thousands of calories down our gullet, and our beds offer crippling warmth in the morning that is hard to escape. What’s a tennis athlete to do? Well, here are our 15 recommendations (with a little help from our friends at FitSugar) for staying healthy, fit and active this winter.
Keep Your Feet Warm
A recent British study showed that keeping your feet warm could reduce your risk of catching an infection by up to 67 percent! Apparently, cold feet can cause sinus blood vessels to constrict, making it harder for your immune cells to fend off viruses. So keep your toes bundled up to stay healthy this winter.
Chop Some Firewood
Some of the best workouts don’t involve any kind of specific “exercise” at all. Chopping wood can burn up to 500 calories an hour! The repetitive motion can also be meditative, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
Relieve Cold Weather Joint Pain with Ginger (The spice, not a girl)
Studies show that ginger can help reduce the formation of prostaglandins and leukotrines, which are responsible for inflammation and can cause pain. Try some ginger tea or stir fry with it to get in a daily dose.
Use The Cold as a Reason to Exercise in The Morning
Too cold to get out of bed? Hop up the minute the alarm goes off, and get moving right away! Warming up your body and easing into a morning workout can help you be more alert and improve your circulation for the rest of the day.
Whiff Some Seasonal Peppermint
When researchers asked 40 people to sniff peppermint every two hours for five days, they ate 1,800 less calories during the week they smelled the scent vs. the week they smelled a placebo. Keep some peppermint gum or essential oil handy, and take a sniff before holiday parties.
Explore The World
It’s cold out, but you don’t have to stay home and hibernate. Explore all the great options for fitness indoors. Go for a hike or mountain run, pop into a new fitness class, or sign up for sessions with a personal trainer. View our ADNA Exercise of The Week Page for more workout tips!
Dose Up On Vitamin D
Decreased hours of daylight and cold temperatures during the winter months can set you up for a vitamin D deficiency, which can inhibit weight loss and even contribute to depression. Stay fit, healthy and happy by getting your recommended daily D dose of 200 IUs through food sources such as fish, eggs and milk. Also aim to get at least 10 minutes of sun exposure each day.
Don’t Just Shovel The Snow, Step In It
Snowshoeing is a great low impact, total body form of aerobic exercise, says Charlotte Hurley of REI Sports. Plus, it can have you burning up to 1,000 calories an hour!
Prevent Winter Nosebleeds With Olive Oil
Prevent winter nosebleeds and fight off germs by swabbing the inside of your nose with a little olive oil. The lubrication of your nasal passages with this non-toxic oil helps moisturize and prevent germs from sticking to the inside of your nose.
Train Like The Athletes Do
Periodizing your workout schedule is a great way to get better results out of your routine. “Treat the winter as a training season – do something different for these 3 months only – then back to something you enjoy more in the better weather” recommends Lisa Hoffman, MA. If you always run, try indoor cycling. If you always swim, try hiking.
Double Your Burn With Outdoor Workouts
“When we shiver, we are expending calories to create heat,” says Dr. Michele Olson. Exercising outdoors makes your body work even harder to stay in a “safe” range of warmth – meaning more calories burned, at the same heart rate, and the same exercise duration and intensity.
Gargle With Tap Water
Research shows that gargling with tap water 2x per day to flush out viruses is enough to reduce your risk of infections by 50 percent!
Calm Your Stomach With Spices
Overdo it at the holiday buffet table? Sip on some cinnamon and clove tea to calm your tummy. Both of these spices are known for their antiseptic properties, and have been shown to help improve digestion. Research also shows they may help reduce diabetes and heart disease risk.
Fight Winter Fatigue With Foot Massages
Did you know that our feet contain thousands of nerve endings that, when stimulated, tell our brain to start producing our own natural antidepressants? According to researchers at the University of Miami, getting a foot rub for 2 minutes, twice a day, could improve your energy as much as 60 percent.
Do Pilates … In The Snow!
Next time you are bundled up and outside, try this pilates exercise (in the snow) from NYC Pilates Instructor Lindsay Lopez for added resistance and a greater challenge for your abdominals: sit in the snow and make a ball shape with your body. Grab behind your knees, curl your tailbone under you, and roll back and forth on your spine. Pull your abdominals in and up the whole time, and try to stay in a tight ball.