Guest Post Series: Staying Fit in the Cooler Months (Part Two)

Charity Stewart is posting Mondays in December on fitness. But know that is about so much more than fitness. Caring for our physical health is just the beginning. If you missed Part One of this series, read it here first.


FIT: Move More

It’s cold. We open the door in the morning to let the dogs out, or the kids out, and a puff of white air comes out of our mouths and melts into the frigid air. Probably not the most ideal weather to bundle up and head out into the cold. The movement that came so naturally in the summer disappears. We must be more deliberate in our choice to move more. And by that, I don’t mean move back to bed under the still-warm covers. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep moving even during the cool months, but again, it’s work! If it were easy, then it wouldn’t be called a “workout” right? Yes, I got that off Pinterest at some point.

winter in Burnaby Lake Regional Park..


I know, I know. It’s cold. Your ears burn, your fingers get numb and the snot drips out of your nose and seems to freeze on contact at the tip. Sounds like a lot of fun. Well, one thing that has NOT changed since summer is that the first step out the door is STILL the hardest. Bundle up well and brave the cold and it just may pay off! Running in the cold and snow burns more calories than the same effort when it’s more warm and dry. Plus, going outside for your exercise still gets you some Vitamin D (provided you’re going out during the day), and that’s an essential vitamin we all begin to lack during the winter months due to our shorter exposure to the sun. (And that crawling back into bed I just mentioned)

The GYM:

So outside isn’t your cup of tea. That’s fine. Make it to the Gym or your local YMCA. Treadmills and the elliptical are good subs for running (and walking) outdoors, but you may want a buddy to help keep you motivated to go. (You still have to brave the cold to get in your car!) Better yet, take some group classes. There’s something about the camaraderie of knowing you’re all in it together that keeps you motivated to get there and join in. Plus, you may make a few friends along the way!

Treadmill for sale



Maybe getting outside isn’t possible and homeschooling or sick kids or a million other obstacles prevent you from getting to a gym. Never underestimate the power of your stairs and a gallon jug. Even if you only have ten minute bursts of time, use what you have to get in your movement. Run up the stairs and walk down and repeat 5-6 times. Then grab a jug of water and do squats, bicep curls, and lunges with the weight. Jump rope in the basement. Or really throw the kids off and jump rope in the living room. Find an old folding chair and step up onto the seat with one leg and then back down while holding on to a gallon of water or milk in each hand. Alternate legs. There are a million things you can do in small bursts of time in your own home if you’re willing to put in the effort to do it. It’s not about finding a way, or finding the time. It’s about making it happen. So do it!

Hire a personal trainer:

If you can’t figure out what to do on your own, consider hiring a personal trainer who can come to you and help you a couple times a week. Chances are, they will give you plenty to do on your off days with them and you’ll have more motivation to help you reach your goals.

One more perk about exercising over the winter? It can improve your immune system as well as delay the onset or severity of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Need any more reasons?

FED: What you eat

Before I even get IN to talking food, let’s address the water issue that most of us have. (Eh hem, me) Drink more of it. Our bodies use more water in the cooler weather, even though we tend to abandon that glass of water as the weather turns cold. You should be drinking half your body weight in water in ounces. More if you’re active and outside. That means when you come in from shoveling, don’t just reach for hot cocoa. Get a big glass of H2O.

Now food. Which is good. It’s my favorite. Isn’t it yours? In the summer it’s easy to eat better, isn’t it? Fresh berries, tomatoes, cucumbers were readily available, and meat could be tossed onto a hot grill with little else and we’d be ready for a meal. Now that winter is here, we mix our veggies with creams and cheeses, toss some meat with crumbs and creams and lean more towards heavy, homey casseroles to warm our hearts and bellies. 

I have more good news! (I’m full of good news today aren’t I?) There are many veggies and fruits that actually taste better and have more vitamins in the winter! Broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, and kale are just some of the usually bitter greens that are sweeter in the cooler months. And winter is the peak time for many citrus fruits – honeybells, clementines, oranges and grapefruit are all at their peak this time of year as well. Find ways to incorporate these in-season foods back into your meal planning. I know of several cookbooks that are based on seasonal availability and offer great ideas for fresh meals all year long.

Lastly, we tend to graze more in the winter. Part of it is because we’re cold and the food warms us up because it gets our bodies processing. Part of it is because the food is there, and we’re there, and it’s really tempting because it’s really good – and did I mention, it was there? Yeah.


Two bits of advice for you on those ones – First: Prep. Prep. Prep. And Second: Share. Share. Share. (OR TOSS TOSS TOSS!) If healthy foods are available to pick at and unhealthy foods aren’t, what do you think you’ll be picking at? Right – the good stuff. Let’s say you have a bowl of sweet potato casserole left in the fridge and a couple whole red peppers. You get the munchies and you open the fridge. Then you close it. You pace the kitchen a while. Then you open it. Reach in under the foil a pick a few marshmallows off the top of the casserole. Close the fridge. Pace. Grab a fork and take a bite of the casserole. Wash dishes. Play with kids. Take a bite. Work. Bite. Bite. Bite. Meanwhile, those lonely red peppers are still sitting there beside the empty bowl with crumpled foil. BUT, imagine you set aside what you’d need of the casserole for dinner and froze the rest for another day. And you sliced up the red peppers and set them in a bowl in the fridge as well. If you must snack – which snack is easier to grab? Ah, the peppers. Of course, availability is great – but we just discussed mindless eating too… and that takes us to my next tip.

Part Three of this Series coming next Monday!

988729_10200881975718030_198016223_nCharity Stewart is a married mom of 2 boys and uses her own weight loss journey to motivate others to health. After shedding 85 pounds and gaining a whole lot of confidence, she went back to school and became a certified personal trainer and group instructor. She uses a “whole you” approach to set, reach and maintain lifelong goals. For more information about goal setting, check out her upcoming classes,

or contact her by e-mail or on Facebook:

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