I’ve had a great activity lineup the past two weekends with ice skating, snowboarding, roller skating, bowling, cross country skiing, running and of course several long walks to the dog park with my puppy Saké. It got me thinking about how little effort I have been putting into staying active. I really have to thank my friends and family for getting me out doing these activities especially when it’s SO cold outside. Luckily, there are many activities to do indoors in the evening and when it’s too cold to be outside.
If you are beginning to feel the post holiday cabin fever set in and that tub of ice cream in the freezer is becoming all too familiar, invite friends and family to go:
play laser tag
take a dance lesson or go out dancing
cross country or downhill ski!
get dressed for the weather and take a walk on the lake (ONLY if it is safely frozen!)
You should never outgrow any of these activities! Let your friends and family know that you want to be more active so they will invite you when they do these types of activities.
Workout regularly, but get into a rut at this time of year?
Switch it up. Treat yourself to a package of hot yoga classes, fitness classes at your gym or buy yourself a new pair of shoes or some workout gear. Swap some of your indoor workouts for outdoor workouts or vice versa. Buy a gym membership if you don’t have one. Start swimming once a week if you have access to a pool. Get a running buddy or join a running club for motivation.
This season I snagged 2 pairs of used cross country skis, boots and poles all for $100 at a ski swap! I also bought 2 pairs of used ice skates for $50 at play it again sports! Winter is the time of year to spend money on exercise!!! It’s much easier to be active outdoors during all other seasons with longer daylight hours and warmer temps. Help yourself out with extra motivation. It may save you from having to buy a larger size pants!
Not active, but want to start?
YMCA is a great place to start as they usually have cheap memberships and their facilities have pools; basketball, racquetball and volleyball courts along with a variety of fitness classes which are usually no extra charge. I recommend joining a gym with a buddy and using the buddy system as motivation to get there and do a variety of activities. Take turns choosing what type of workout to do and hold each other accountable to make X number of workouts weekly. Set a schedule for days and times to workout and stick with it. Always do a walkthrough orientation and trial workout before joining a gym so you don’t get into a membership to a place you don’t like. Many of us do not enjoy working out next to grunting, overly chatty or perfectly sculpted individuals!
Try out some new activities and see what you like. Yoga studios and gyms usually have cheap 1 month trial memberships so you can try it before you buy it.
Also, keep in mind that staying active doesn’t have to be expensive. Take advantage of local trails and lakes for cross country skiing, skating, running, biking, walking and rollerblading. Maybe you live in an apartment that has a gym or pool. Find out if any of your tv channels have exercise programs that you like and do them in the comfort of your home. Whatever new activities you decide on make sure you ease into them to avoid injury and get a lesson for starters to make sure your form is correct.
Timing is everything!
Break your activity into small chunks throughout the day or do it all at once. Figure out what time of day you are most motivated to workout and stick with that time. Some people can not get up to exercise in the morning and others know that if they leave it until after work they will not do it!
Strength training a few times a week with light weights will help to tone and build muscle which is more metabolically active in burning calories than fat!
Cardio exercises like running, brisk walking, swimming and cycling:
strengthen your heart, respiratory muscles, skeletal muscles
reduce blood pressure, risk of diabetes and risk of cardiac death
reduce stress and depressive symptoms
increase cognitive function
Weight bearing activities such as running, hiking, lifting weights, dancing, skiing and skating strengthen bones to reduce risk for osteoporosis.
My favorite benefit of exercise is the release of endorphins. Endorphins are like natural antidepressants which can actually improve your mood! Exercise also increases our energy and we feel stronger and more confident physically. Other wonderful benefits of exercise are weight loss and weight maintenance. If weight loss is your goal, remember that it’s about 90% diet and 10% exercise. I recommend getting your diet under control before beginning exercise. This is because exercise tends to make us much hungrier and if we are not used to eating healthfully we may eat more of the wrong things and end up putting weight on or just not getting the results we want. Avoid the stress of trying to juggle new diet and exercise regimens at the same time. This will make you better equipped to make healthy nutrition choices when you start exercising. If you have questions about these types of transitions don’t hesitate to ask.
When it’s all said and done I hope that you feel like you’re on top of the world!!!