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No Excuses: Making Cold Weather Exercise A Reality

No Excuses: Making Cold Weather Exercise A Reality

A couple weeks ago, ten inches of snow fell in my neighborhood. The snow plow didn’t come for almost two days, and I live at the top of a mountain, so there was no way I was going anywhere.

Still, if I had wanted to, I could have found at least half a dozen different ways to exercise, had I wanted to. (In this case I had two great reasons to take a break from exercise; an upper respiratory infection and case of pink eye. Gotta be smart about these things.)

If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, it’s that getting any kind of exercise, even if it’s not an all-out sweat fest, is beneficial for your mental and physical well-being. I know cold weather, snow, sleet, and dark nights make exercising feel almost impossible sometimes, but you really can fit it in. Here’s how.

If you wanna stay inside, far, far away from the black ice and frigid temps, try out these tips:

  • Dance party! I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, because bouncing around in my living room is the only sport at which I truly excel, but dancing in your house is awesome. It’s fun, it’s easy, it’s a calorie burner. In fact a 150 pound woman can burn nearly 100 calories dancing aerobically for just 15 minutes—that’s like 5 Beyoncé songs or 3 Adele songs. You can do it.
  • Kettlebell or dumbbell workout. Basement gyms are all the rage right now, and I can see why: If your weights are just down the stairs (as opposed to in a mirror-filled room across town), what’s to hold you back from using them? Another great idea is keeping a set of weights right next to the TV and committing to lifting them while you watch your favorite half hour program. (You can find plenty of strength training resources online; be sure to get your advice from a certified personal trainer or, preferably, someone who has a degree in something like exercise science.)
  • Indoor walking. Sometimes I just walk laps around my house. Yeah, you look a little odd, and your pets may wonder what the heck is going on, but still, it’s easy and fun. You can also just walk in place, adding a couple of hand weights if you want an extra challenge. Anything that gets you up and doesn’t involve sitting on your rear is a plus in the winter time months.
  • Yoga or other flexibility-building workouts. There are tons of free yoga videos on the net, everything from yoga for weight loss to yoga for athletes to yoga for couch potatoes. If yoga’s not your thing, try looking for a basic video on stretching, as this will get you ready for when the weather warms up and you get outside and back to more vigorous exercise.

If, on the other hand, you feel like outdoors exercise is where it’s at, follow these tips:

  • Do not go outside for a walk or run unless the area where you’re going is completely free from ice and snow. If not, you’re asking for an injury. (There are some attachable clips available for sneakers to help you grab onto slippery surfaces, but use these with caution!)
  • Wear your warmies. Invest in a pair of good quality exercise tights to wear under your usual pants, buy a face mask, get a good pair of gloves, and just generally make sure you’re prepared to be out in the coldest temps of the year.
  • Make sure you’re well-lit. If you’re running or biking on a road, be sure you’re wearing reflective clothing or a headlamp, especially because the sun goes down early this time of year. You don’t want to get caught out in the cold and dark without anyone being able to see you.
  • Try a new-to-you cold weather exercise. If you’ve been sticking to walking or running, try down hill skiing or snowboarding, or, for a fabulous total body workout, try cross-country skiing. Don’t think you’re coordinated enough for that? If you can walk, you can snowshoe, and you can burn some serious calories while you’re doing it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.