Have you been experiencing a bit of cold and snow this winter? The temperature has been below normal here. We’ve had snow and freezing temperatures for several weeks, and it’s been a challenge to work out. Whatever you do, don’t let winter be an stumbling block to your regular fitness routine. Here are some tips to keep you goin’ even when it’s snowin’ (or icin’)!:
- Run in powdery snow. Trade your regular sneakers for boots and run (or walk) outside. You’ll find that you work a different set of muscles because you have to lift your legs higher. Just be sure to dress appropriately. I’ve run all the way down to 0 degrees, but none of my skin was exposed. Even my eyeballs were covered with sunglasses! Keep your skin covered to prevent frostbite — and don’t go out when the wind chills are dangerous.
- Look for obstacle courses. Our snow has been hanging around for a few weeks, and its a bit on the hard side. Luckily, the temps are above freezing, so there’s scant ice, and I have good visibility. While running on dry sidewalk this morning, I came upon crunchy snow, and I had a few choices: run on the grass, run in the street and get hit by a car or run through the snow. I decided to do agility runs through the snow, lifting my legs high and fast as a powered my feet downward and my body forward. These made for effective high intensity intervals throughout my steady run.
- Go sledding! We are fortunate to have a big hill on the common ground near our back yard. My brother and six of his nine children came over last week to take advantage of it. Sledding is great exercise because once you go down the hill, you have to walk up it again. Over and over. What’s more, it’s FUN! Sometimes as adults, we forget that “play” can be a workout too.
- Build a snow fort or a snow man. Not only will it get you out with your kids, you’ll get a great strength training session. My son and I used to compete to see who could roll the biggest snowball. Who needs giant rubber tires when snowballs are in your own back yard?
- Do a new indoor workout. There is one weather obstacle that stops me in my tracks — ice. It’s just not safe to run or walk when the roads are icy. So instead of sitting around watching reruns of Downton Abbey, I do high intensity interval training (HIIT). When I don’t feel like thinking, I’ll pop in my Insanity T-25 DVD for a great 25 minute workout. Or I’ll make up my own, stringing together a set of 3-4 strength training exercises for one minute each, then resting for 30 seconds between sets.
Hope these tips help you sweat out that cabin fever!