Unfortunately for many, being sedentary goes hand in hand with the long winter. Staying fit often seems difficult enough without winter in the mix. Between the long, dark cold days and the New England weather, it is sometimes easier to swear off exercise for the winter than to get motivated to get moving.
If you are an outdoor person who enjoys the colder weather, then getting outside for fun and fitness is more enjoyable. The traditional winter activities like ice skating, skiing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing or even snowshoeing are available in most parts of Maine.
If you are looking for something different to try or just cannot get motivated, maybe its time to think outside of the igloo. Here are some easy and fun ways to stay fit in the winter (with or without children participating):
• Play hockey. There are now women’s leagues or even mixed leagues. If you have always enjoyed watching a hockey game, now maybe now is a good time to be a part of this fast-moving, vigorous sport. Of course, you can always just try a less formal girls night on skates and start your own game or skip the competitive part and ice skate.
• Walk the mall with some “attitude.” Traditionally, mall walkers are senior citizens and they have the right idea. It is safe, it is warm and you get to window shop. Put a more fun spin on it using interval bursts from one store to another.
• When was the last time you built a snowman? It can be hard work rolling a big wet ball of snow and then lifting it on top of another snowball. Build a snow family with your own family. Be careful when lifting the heavy snowball; bend your knees and do a squat to protect your lower back.
• Snowboarding is a fairly new winter sport. If you are a water skier or wind surfer in the summer, this might be something for you to try.
• Create your own winter bootcamp. Do jumping jacks in the snow. Throw snowballs. As part of your cool down, lie in the snow and make snow angels.
• Try indoor rock climbing. If you enjoy it and get good at it while you are safe indoors and supervised, you may venture out into real rocks when the weather breaks.
• If you just cannot get yourself outdoors, try some of the new Wii Fit games. They range from yoga and aerobics to boxing and tennis. You can really burn some calories and have some fun. It gets you off the couch without having to face the elements.
• Try ballroom dancing. Dancing for an hour burns more than 300 calories, improves your posture and keeps you warm. It is also good for your brain as your body tries to process complex patterns.
• Have a personal trainer put together a program you can do at home, using tools you currently have. In other words, no need to go buy equipment. Use a broom handle, milk jugs and soup cans.
Remember, whatever activity you engage in, warm up for 5 to 7 minutes and cool down and stretch at the end. It is also important to stay hydrated. Even though it is colder outside, your body still needs eight to 10 glasses of day for optimal function and weight management.
MaryAnn Molloy is a certified personal trainer and the owner of Healthy Body, Fit Mind Personal Training, now located at Basics Fitness Center in South Portland. She can be reached at 370-1348 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org