As winter comes on, it’s harder to stay active for those of us who get our exercise out-of-doors. Less daylight and turning the clocks back mean that we might be getting done with our day (or started with it!) with barely enough glow or warmth to get in a run.
Add in the yummy displays of holiday sweets and treats, and we need to recognize that we are in the hibernation season. You know the one, the season in which we hunker down inside and eat so we can store energy for the hectic holidays ahead.
But you don’t have to follow the bears’ lead on this one. Cooler weather and shorter days don’t mean we have to forgo fitness, only to pick it up again when summer is around the corner. Here are some tips and tricks that address some of the winter obstacles to staying in shape.
• Join a gym.
If you’ve relied on outdoor activity for your calorie burn, consider taking the routine indoors. There are a variety of inexpensive fitness options where you will not need to sign a contract and the monthly membership fees are not going to eat into your gift-buying budget. Also consider a membership at Summit City Fitness or at Fort Wayne’s YMCAs, that provide members access to six locations, however, they require a one year commitment. The upside? Pools. Who doesn’t like to cheat winter by swimming in December?
• Explore the Internet.
There are Internet-based exercise programs you can try while you’re stuck in your basement instead of biking the roads. Sites like DailyBurn.com and FitFusion.com are basically a Netflix for exercise videos. Generally, membership fees are less than $20 per month, and you can stream some programs to your TV, or watch videos from your laptop and mobile devices. The advantage is that you can avoid boredom by varying your workouts — Pilates today, cross fit tomorrow, body sculpting the next — on your own schedule.
• Start a DVD swap.
You could always invest in a workout series on DVD, like the popular Insanity workouts (as well as their tamer, less intense cousins). But if your winter workout is just a placeholder for your usual routine, why not ask around and start up a workout DVD swap? There’s a good chance that friends and family have a set of DVD exercise videos you’ve never tried. Offer them a set you’ve finished in exchange. If nothing else, rent a new exercise DVD at the library.
• Be a gamer.
The latest video gaming systems often include a dynamic component. The Wii, Xbox’s Kinect (if you have the latest Xbox, you’ve got Kinect already installed), and PlayStation Move offer the chance to get physical while you play. The game consoles have titles for Zumba, virtual sports, yoga, fit training exercises and dance. For moms with kids who are also stuck inside, this can be a great way to get everyone moving. And don’t scoff at these game-like workouts, according to an article on FitnessMagazine.com, some of these games can burn around 500 calories per hour.
• Be a kid again.
The winter offers outdoor fitness opportunities for skiers, sure, but if you embrace some childlike abandon — a snowball throwing session, sledding, snow fort construction — you’ll get a blast of exercise with your play time. Even the entirely grown-up chore of shoveling the drive can give you a workout. So don’t give up entirely on exercising outdoors.
Winter seems to last forever, but beach body season is here before we know it. Make getting fit for warmer weather easier by getting those legs (and arms, and the rest of you) moving this winter.