Weathering the Winter with Fitness

There are people that enjoy the winter and then there are those who dread every moment, fear every weather report and loathe the cold. While on the surface this may simply seem like a matter of opinion, I believe that there is something greater that separates these two groups. Winter lovers tend to get out and appreciate the season for what it offers–crisp, cool air and a chance to enjoy a landscape that looks so very different than it does in the warmer months.

You may be thinking that this is all well and nice, but it still won’t get you out from under your cozy covers to “enjoy” a twenty degree day. What if I told you that not taking advantage of getting outdoors and exercising during the winter is the reason you find yourself wishing you could just hibernate? Experts agree that getting physical activity in the winter–especially outdoors–boosts your mood, reduces the symptoms of seasonal affect disorder and helps prevent winter weight gain. All you need is 30-45 minutes and you could be on your way to enjoying, not just enduring, the winter.

Snowshoes
Snowshoes / M. Prinke / CC BY 2.0

How to Get Active

Put on your hiking boots: Lace up some water proof boots and go for a hike or at least a walk. Take advantage of areas that are generally over grown in the summer- possibly even right in your back yard.

Try snow shoes: Designed to prevent you from sinking into the snow, snow shoes provide a strenuous workout if you venture to follow your own path, or a less difficult but equally beautiful way to enjoy the winter if elevation isn’t your thing. Not sure where to go? Your local golf course may make be a great place. If you live near a ski area take advantage of the groomed trails for free! Call local ski shops to find out about renting snow shoes.

Think like a kid: Just get out there! Start playing around, throwing snow balls and even go sledding (walking the sled up the hill is sure to work your legs).

If I really can’t get you to go outside: There are many opportunities to work out without even leaving your house. For a low monthly membership you can have access to over 170 exercise videos through Workouts on Demand. Ranging from beginner to expert, Sparkpeople.com  allows you to string together a series of videos to create the workout you are looking for. I also recommend checking out iTunes, which includes many downloadable apps such as Fitness Buddy ($.99) that offers more than a thousand workouts to download to your phone. Lastly, if a Nintendo Wii or other game console has made it into your home, purchase a fitness game or other active game that will get you (and your kids!) moving.

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