How Do You #FitToIt in the Winter?

winterfitness-Skistar TrysilThe high temperature in my neck of the woods for the past few days has been less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t mind cold weather typically, but when it gets below twenty, and especially below 10 degrees, it’s no fun. You have to crank up your heat, you have to scrape your car windows, you have to run your defrost in your car pretty much the entire trip, and your eyebrows and nose hairs have a tendency to freeze up a bit which just feels weird. Not to mention if there’s even a slight wind, your eyes can start to water, making your tears freeze to your face.

For all that trouble, exercising outdoors seems like a crazy idea this time of year, even if the temps aren’t below freezing. However, there are plenty of ways to keep up a good exercise habit – indoors or out – during the cold, occasionally snowy months of the year!

1. Skiing/snowboarding

If you love the snow and have access to the slopes or a snowy cross-country skiing or telemarking route, and don’t mind the drive up there, skiing and snowboarding are a great way to get in a good workout during the winter! Make sure you have all the proper equipment and weather-appropriate clothing – frost-bite is often a hazard in these sorts of conditions! And, if you’re planning on doing any skiing, backcountry skiing especially, make sure you know the avalanche conditions and take proper precautions when entering those areas with those conditions.

2. Running

Some runners love running in the snow and or cold. If it’s just cold, the temp can feel good as your body heats up from the exertion and you start to sweat. But if the roads, trails, or sidewalks are icy, slushy, or unsafe to run on, you may want to head indoors. You can hit the treadmill, but if you prefer a slightly more “scenic” view, a lot of rec centers and gyms have a running track. It may just run in a loop, but it can be helpful for tracking your performance if you’re trying to improve your time or endurance.

3. Ice skating/hockey

Admittedly, skates aren’t for everyone. And unless you’re a seasoned skater (and sometimes even if you are), you’re probably going to fall. Hard. On your butt, your hands, your knees, or even your face. It’s ice. It’s slippery. Duh. But, if you can get past all that, a good hour or two of ice skating or hockey is an AWESOME workout. It builds strength in your legs, helps you work on your balance, and whether you’re indoors or out, the cold of the arena or the brisk winter air will undoubtedly feel good after you’ve worked up a sweat.

4. Basketball

If it’s snowy or icy, you will probably want to bring the game indoors. Lucky for you, many rec centers and gyms have an indoor court to play on. You may have to check on whether the court has been booked for pick-up games, team practices, or other activities, but basketball is a great indoor sport in the winter. Whether you’re on your own, with a few friends, or want to meet some new ones for a pick-up game, you can escape the elements, get your cardio in, and practice your jump shot!

5. Swimming

Swimming is often thought of as a summer sport, but you can find plenty of indoor pools to get your swim on during the winter when the outdoor pools are closed! Many pools at rec centers or gyms often have adult only hours in the morning or later in the evening, perfect to visit before or after work and do laps without the distraction of noisy kids playing (those swim centers tend to echo!). And, one of the best parts about swimming is that you get to work out a number of muscle groups all at once. It may not get your heart pumping the same way that running or sports will, but if you’re looking for something that’s a good cross-training exercise, you may want to check into the hours at your local swimming hole!

One note: any locker room can be a place for bacteria and germs to multiply, but pool locker rooms can be a little worse because so many people tend to walk around barefoot. Make sure you bring a pair of flip-flops or shower shoes to keep your feet healthy!

And don’t forget: if it’s cold or snowy outside, don’t leave the building with wet hair if you have to walk or endure the elements for an extended period of time! If you have to, make sure you bring a warm hat!

6. Yoga

We love yoga here at Cultivating Your Energy. That’s probably no surprise, but you have to admit, it’s a perfect way to get your fitness in during the winter! Most yoga classes are taught indoors anyway, and if the winter and cold have got you down, you can check out a hot yoga class to try to warm your bones back up! Also, with the holidays coming up, taking time out for yoga and maybe a little meditation can be a great way to stave off the stress and craziness that sometimes follow. Another good cross-training exercise, you won’t find too many yoga classes focusing on just one muscle group, so you’ll be sure to get a good all-over workout as well.

What do you like to do to stay active in the winter? Do you brave the elements, or head indoors? Tell us in the comments!

Photo by Flickr user Skistar Trysil

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The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition. Please consult your doctor before attempting any of the exercises, remedies, or health tips on this website to make sure you are healthy enough to do so.
About Cultivating Your Energy

We want to help you cultivate a healthier life for yourself. Whether it’s through better nutrition, losing weight, managing existing conditions, disease prevention, exercise, diet, or a combination of these, we believe that you can feel better, live stronger, and be healthier.

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