Finding a good enough reason to hit the gym can be a tough undertaking this time of year. It’s cold, it’s icy and it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work, socialize, eat and exercise. The only things on your to-do list during these chilly winter months are warming up, eating in and falling asleep to the sweet sounds of Netflix. But no matter how tempting a life of leisure might seem in these dreary days, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, keep your immune system strong against wintry illnesses and maintain the fitness gains you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Luckily there’s a simple solution to staying fit in the winter that doesn't involve braving the icy streets for a jog: yoga. Check out why we think yoga is the best fitness option this winter.
It can be done almost anywhere
Yoga is the type of workout that can be done almost anywhere. With just a sliver of space and a yoga mat, you can transform almost any spot into a personal studio: your bedroom, your cubicle, your kitchen, you name it! You won’t have to get in your car and drive to the gym this winter to get a workout in - just unroll your favorite mat and get moving.
It makes you happy
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition with symptoms linked to depression affecting an estimated 10 million Americans. In the fall and winter months, the lack of sunlight and daylight can reduce levels of mood-related hormones while increasing levels of sleep-related hormones. Sufferers of SAD are left feeling tired, lethargic, depressed and anxious. That’s where yoga comes in.
Healthcare experts say SAD can be treated and prevented with regular meditation and exercise that incorporates mind-body connection, like yoga. Regular yoga practice has been proven to raise levels of serotonin (that mood-related hormone mentioned earlier) and increase happiness and sociability. So this season, beat the winter blues and brighten up your dark mornings with sun salutations and restorative meditation.
It warms you up
When the winds are whipping against your windows and finding ways to infiltrate your home, not even your thickest blanket can defend you against the chill. Instead of hiking up your thermostat, throw on your favorite leg warmers and melt into chaturanga. Your yoga mat might be a little cold to the touch, but as soon as you start your favorite yoga flow, you’ll feel heat coursing through your body. A quick, 20 minute yoga session will have you toasty in no time.
It improves circulation
We spend our winters wound in layers of sweaters, scarves, down jackets and thermal tees. While these layers keep us warm, they also hinder our movement and cut off circulation. A yoga session gives us the chance to open up our bodies, get the blood flowing and reduce stiffness, swelling and cramping. Some specific poses that can improve circulation are pigeon, downward dog, chair pose, forward fold and triangle, just to name a few.