Fitness Tips for Winter

Fitness Tips for Winter

With personal trainer, Anthony Bonazzo

Chicago’s freezing temps can make working out in winter more daunting and even dangerous. Yet it’s important to stay active and fit during the deep freeze with proper preparation. We talked to personal trainer Anthony Bonazzo and got his top four tips for winter-fitness success. Bonazzo works at the Fitness Formula Club at Chicago’s Union Station and has a private fitness company, AB Fit.

• Get a head start: It would be ideal to already have a winter workout routine in place. But if not, start one now and continue throughout the season. “Training is cumulative,” says Bonazzo. “Consider getting on a path earlier next year. Beginning in the fall makes it easier to stay on track in these cold winter months.”

• Achieve balance: A combination of cardio and resistance training will help you lose weight faster and more effectively, keeping off those holiday pounds. Bonazzo recommends resistance training a minimum of three days a week and cardio training four to six days a week. Sandwich in higher-intensity days to promote fat burning and weight loss.

• Stretch it out: Our muscles are tighter and joints stiffer in the cold weather. Stretching is even more important to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to our muscles and to protect them from injury. Take longer with your warm-up, Bonazzo says, and make sure to include active stretching, foam rollers, exercise bands or yoga. Also, it’s just as important to keep hydrated in winter as it is in summer.

• Head outdoors: Get outside and absorb Vitamin D from the sun, whether you powerwalk from the train, walk by the lake or participate in an outdoor sports league, as long as it’s not a subzero freeze. “Get out of hibernation mode. Get outside and shake that lack of motivation,” Bonazzo says.

• Stay healthy: If you can’t get outdoors, Bonazzo recommends using a sunlamp or supplementing with Vitamin D-3 to avoid lethargy and depression and to give you the energy to get moving and go to the gym. Since the immune system is weaker in winter, supplement with a multivitamin and Echinacea, which reduces the chance of catching a cold. Get sufficient sleep, and eat plenty of vegetables and whole grains for optimal health.