There's a chill in the air in of most of the country and specifically the Long Island area. The days of taking that leisurely stroll, run or bike ride seem to drift away, and we bundle up to cover those few extra pounds. We spend more time indoors and we find ourselves visiting the kitchen more and more.
ARGGHHH!! the challenge continues. In our ongoing quest to be in the best shape we can, we must expect these certain bumps. As always, your goal should be to enjoy life, not be too hard on yourself, and make health and fitness a part of your lifestyle.
Outdoor workouts can actually be fun if you prepare correctly. Layer your clothing with the inside layer being a breathable material like Gore-tex or silk. These materials wick moisture away from the body and keep you dry. Don't make the mistake of wearing a regular cotton T-shirt under your sweatshirt and jacket. You will later find it wet and giving your body a chill. You must remember to cover your extremities. Wear gloves, warm socks and a hat. Once you are bundled up nice and toasty, a nice stroll or bike ride can be fun and a very caloric reducing activity.
My personal favorite is a trail ride through the woods. My new "sub-zero" bike pants keep my legs warm, and I layer my upper body as well. Gloves are essential and a hat under my helmet is uncomfortable at first, but keeps me warm. I love biking through the wooded trails and seeing it in a whole new light as compared to spring or summer seasons.
Many activities come with snow including shoe shoeing. Snow shoeing is becoming quite popular with the infiltration of new high tech materials. Last winter I was introduced to a new lightweight snowshoe with grips/teeth on the bottom that enabled me to hike through the trails for hours. I was able to walk confidently through snow and ice, and successfully negotiate going up and down hills. It was so much fun and really great exercise!!
If outdoor workouts just make you go brrrrrr, then go to the gym for your regular workout or try a new video at home. Don't forget those free TV workout shows, including Gilad from Hawaii. He is still on each morning at 7am, and there are many assorted workouts on various other channels during the day.
Winter is also the time to concentrate on a different aspect of your workout. If you only do a cardiovascular workout, buy some small dumbbells, and a body bar for resistance training. Take 30 - 60 minutes every other day to do some muscular endurance training right at home in front of the TV. And a jump rope is an excellent low budget piece of equipment for cardiovascular training.
Variety is truly the spice of life. Don't give up immediately when any new activities feel awkward. The body needs to nueromuscularly adapt to this new exercise. Basically, the brain needs to get used to the pathways it sends the signals and the muscles have to get used to which set of muscle fibers to fire or recruit. The good news is that you'll probably burn more calories and reach new fitness levels by trying new activities. You'll also return to your old activities with a new sense of enjoyment and increased agility level.
Remember to take extended warmup times for your outdoor workouts and stretch at the end of all your workouts to increase flexibility and reduce your chances of injuries. Closely monitor your intake of fatty foods and don't lose your momentum. Spring is only months away. If you jump start now, it'll be that much easier to maintain your summer activity level when the season changes.