Winter weather conditions may make you reevaluate your outdoor fitness routine, but hibernation is not the answer, even if you live in the chilly north. To be most effective, fitness needs to be consistent. Without a gym membership, many people feel lost when it comes to staying in shape as winter approaches. Skiing and ice hockey are great sports, but they can be costly and require a lot of training, traveling and planning. However, with a little creativity and some basic equipment it's not hard, and can even be fun, to stay in shape all winter long.
Here are some low-cost ideas to keep fit outside the gym this season. If you need more of a challenge, use the modification tips to take it up a notch:
Running or walking up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building can be a great high intensity cardio and leg workout. One option for those starting out is to add walking intervals every few floors. For example, leave the stairwell and walk the length of the hallway and back before resuming your ascent.
Take it up a notch: Try climbing two steps at a time, sprinting a few flights or doing jumping jacks between floors to raise the intensity.
This is a great aerobic and social workout that can be done free of charge in some arenas.
Take it up a notch: If triple axels are not in your repertoire, you can still pick up the pace to get your heart pumping. Skating backwards can also work your muscles in different ways.
If you have 10 or 20 meters to yourself you can try this:
Skate as fast as you can for 10 metres.
Come to a complete stop and touch the ice with your hand.
Immediately sprint back to the starting spot and touch the ice again.
Do this for one minute, three times.
Skate leisurely for one to two minutes between sets to catch your breath.
Walk it out
If you’re new to outdoor activity in winter, walking is a good way to begin. It’s an effective cardio workout that suits a range of fitness levels. Try to choose activities that are appropriate for your abilities, and those you truly enjoy and make sure you warm up properly. If you’re going out walking, you can warm up by doing some simple stretches and by walking at a slower pace for the first 5 to 10 minutes of your walking routine. Additionally, be sure to dress for the weather. Choose performance exercise clothes and outerwear that allow you to layer on a thin, thermal first layer — a pullover and leggings, for instance — and then a vest, pants, and an outer shell that’ll give you warmth without bulkiness and enable you to peel off the layers as you heat up.
Be prepared with an indoor workout when the weather conditions keep you stuck at home. “If you’re snowbound, put on a DVD that's geared to your fitness level. The great thing about DVDs is that you can pause them if you need more time to get the position right,” says Quilter. Don’t have a fitness DVD? Look for a fitness channel on your local cable or satellite television, or find a fitness Web site you like and get a workout online.
The winter is a great time to try new things including skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and ice skating! You’ll be amazed by the full body workout you’ll feel by the end of the day. Also these winter activities are loads of fun for the whole family and friends!
Don’t let the cool temperature months keep you from your fitness goals and living a healthy lifestyle!