Winter has finally arrived this February. Last week alone it snowed three times. This past weekend we found ourselves in a polar vortex, with temps dipping below zero. With snow comes snow removal and longer commutes to and from work. This leaves less time, and less motivation to exercise. Not to mention it’s cold outside, and getting outdoors to exercise may not be in the cards.
The good news is, shoveling can be a great workout. Unfortunately, it’s not very satisfying, and usually leaves you exhausted and cranky. It’s no wonder seasonal mood affective disorder runs rampant this time of year. And unless you are shoveling every day (please, no more snow!), you are likely to find yourself in a sedentary rut most days of the week. With spring nowhere in sight, it’s important to make the most of today’s weather.
Make outside more manageable
- Bundle up. Getting a walk or run in everyday may not be possible with icy conditions, but when you can, make it a little easier on yourself by bundling up in layers. You can always take them off if you get hot.
- Check the extended weather forecast to pick the best days to be outside, and make a plan to do so. Hold yourself accountable, just as you would in warmer weather. Also try getting your temperature up by doing a few minutes of cardio inside before you go out. Try jogging in place or jumping jacks. When you’re warm, head outside, the cold won’t be so shocking.
- Try something new that only winter sets the scene for. Try snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, sledding, ice skating or hockey. No money for winter sports gear? Suit up and play in the snow piled up in your yard.
Bring your workout indoors. There is plenty to be done inside.
- Take an exercise class with friends. Try something new each week to keep it interesting. Try Zumba, yoga, Crossfit, or check your local gym’s lineup of classes. Staying accountable to friends helps keep you on track, and adds a social burst of energy to your day. It’s hard to have the winter blues when making a fool of yourself at Zumba. Are your friends lazy and impossible to get to classes? Go by yourself and make some new friends! People who are already going to classes will make good people to meet there next time.
- Browse the internet for free work out videos when you’re snowed in. Search ‘workout videos’ on YouTube and get 11.4 million results, many of them requiring no equipment. This should keep you busy for a bit.
- Tackle a household project that has been on your to-do list for a while. Remove wallpaper, paint, knock down walls, or just give your house a good clean. Why wait for nice weather to do your spring cleaning? Do it now and get outside when spring hits. Use websites like DIY.com for fun household projects. Anything that gets you up and off the couch. Fun fact: you can burn about 120 calories for every half hour you do household chores.
- Volunteer. Websites like VolunteerMatch.org help you find opportunities in your area. You’d be surprised how a morning at a soup kitchen could work you out. Not into food service? Find some way to volunteer your time or skills doing something you like. The last thing you want is to make volunteering like work on your days off. It might also give you an endorphin boost that will keep you motivated for the rest of the day.
Have any quirky ideas to get your workout in? We want to hear about it!