Sometimes I swear I was a bear in a past life. From the moment the first flowers of spring begin to bloom until the last crusted leaf falls from the tree of autumn, I am a motivated fitness machine. I prefer to walk and hike outdoors more than any other form of exercise, so the minute snow starts falling I crawl into my cave-like apartment, draw the blinds and curl up on the couch with a blanket and the remote.
Not good, considering winter cold can last anywhere from three to five months. All that hard work done the other nine months of the year? Completely undone by a few snowflakes and ice-storms.
Battling lethargy during the winter months isn’t easy, and when you factor in all that fattening food from the holidays, you can see exactly why I feel like a bear as I pat my sated tummy and reach for the remote and another honey pot.
Our physical fitness routine doesn’t have to stop just because the nice weather is over. There are dozens of things you can do to stay on your toes and get the exercise you need all year long. Staying on track all winter is one way to ensure that when spring rolls around, you won’t have to work so hard to get back into your bathing suit in time for summer.
- Join a local gym. Joining a gym not only provides you with indoor equipment and resources, but most gyms have classes you can sign up for like yoga, pilates, spinning and aerobics. A classroom environment might not be for everyone, but if you’re a social butterfly, you might just meet a few new friends that make you look forward to going to class.
- Check into programs offered at your local YMCA/YWCA. Most Y centers have a pool and offer a low, flat-rate entry fee between $5-$10 each time you visit. It can add up over the winter if you find out you love swimming in the Y pool, so if you plan to visit often, check into their monthly and yearly rates.
- With the holidays coming up, maybe you need an excuse to buy the kids a Nintendo Wii. The fitness programs designed for Wii are a fun and easy way to get all the exercise you need during the winter months, and you don’t even have to leave the house. Excuses be gone! Invest in a Wii.
- Check your local library for fitness DVDs to try out. Dropping $20 on a fitness DVD you’ll never use is no good, but most libraries offer their patrons free videos to take home and they probably have a pretty sweet fitness and health section. You can test out DVDs for free, and if you find one you really like and want to use regularly, you can always buy it.
- Get outside and play in the snow. Skiing, sledding, building a snowman… if you haven’t done any of those things in awhile, chances are you don’t remember how exhausted you were after coming inside to melt in front of the heater with a cup of hot chocolate. You can burn a lot of calories playing outdoors in cold weather, not only because your body is working harder to stay warm, but in order to sled down the hillside you’ve gotta get to the top somehow.
Staying motivated during the winter months is hard. Trust me, I know, but there are so many easy ways to stay on track once the snow starts to fall, there are simply no excuses to fall off the fitness wagon.