It’s cold outside, so cold that you can see your breath freeze in the air and your joints are stiff even though you may be 20 years old. It’s no time to go out for a walk or run, so how do you keep fit when it’s not fit to go outside? The immediate reaction to a colder weather exercise plan is to get gym membership. But be warned: winter is gym membership season. Not only do all the hibernating runners take to the treadmills at the local YMCAs or fitness clubs, but so does everyone else who’s made a New Year’s Resolution to lose 10 pounds. You could find that your winter fitness solution is a crowded place. If you are creative during the winter months, you can find a workout around your own house or apartment while you wait for the seasonal gym rush to pass. First, buy a shovel and pray for snow. Shoveling your driveway can be a total body workout if done properly. When you shovel, remember to bend at you knees, use you hips to leverage weight, and don’t let your arms and shoulders do all the work. Don’t stop with your own driveway, offer to shovel your neighbors too. They’ll love you for it and might even give you a buck or two for your effort.
If the cold doesn’t bother you, winter sports such as ice skating, ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding and sledding are excellent forms of exercise and lots of fun, too. Look online for local ski resorts and skating rinks where you can get student discounts. If you don’t know how to skate or ski, put lessons on your holiday wish list! But if you’re like me and you find the cold weather completely unbearable, there are some alternative indoor activities you can do to burn a few calories and stay in shape. Bake holiday cookies from scratch. Once you get to the rolling pin part of the recipe, you’ll know how much upper body strength kneading and rolling dough requires. Want buffer arms? Lift gallons of milk and eggnog. You’ll probably have them on-hand due to festive parties, so why not put them towards a nice set of biceps? Curling three sets of ten with each arm should build strength and define the muscles.
Need a good cardio workout? Buy an exercise tape. Work out with Jane Fonda, Susan Powers, Richard Simmons, or Billy Blanks. Your local Goodwill store will have tons of exercise tapes for dirt cheap. Have fun with it, buy exercise tapes from the “80’s” and laugh at the instructors’ leotards and slouch socks.
Speaking of exercise fun with videos, you can learn how to dance like the stars on MTV with instructional dance videos. Napoleon Dynamite certainly got a workout learning his dance routine, so why not pick up a hip hop or techno dance tip video and show off your moves to relatives during the holidays? Whatever you do during winter break for exercise, make it fun. Your body will thank you for it!