• Lori Goodsell

Fun ideas for winter fitness

Fun ideas for winter fitness abound in this part of the country. While I am not a advocate of “New Years Resolutions”, this is the time where people start to develop cabin fever. Though I am not exactly sure that I would consider myself a “winter enthusiast” my friends would tell you, that regardless of the time of year, I can find fun ways to keep myself fit outside during the winter.

My favorite fun idea for winter fitness is simply hiking in different areas each week with friends and my big furry dog. Every weekend one of my friends chooses a local county or state park and we go for a couple hours. We’ve hiked in soaking rain, ice storms, negative temps with crazy wind chills and snow storms. It is that brief bit of exercise, outdoors, nature and sanity that I need to get me through the week. Not only do I get nature time, I get to catch up with my friends, burn a bunch of calories and the dog gets some exercise. Win, Win Win!

Secondly, speaking of fun ideas for winter fitness, this one is the bomb. Fat biking is sweeping the nation. While I wouldn’t take my fat tire bike out today when it is 10 degrees with 20 mph winds. On a nice 20 degree day when I am feeling cooped up, I head out to the trail near my house and put in five miles. Five miles seems like a pretty wimpy ride until you do it on snow and ice and cold. For me, it’s perfect. While fat bikes are definitely an investment, I bought a Minnesota 2.0 for half the cost of a Surly. If you aren’t ready to make the leap, purchase a set of studded tires for your mountain bike and see if winter riding is for you.

Third, snowshoeing has got to be my favorite activity for winter fitness. You burn a tremendous amount of calories and there is nothing more beautiful than a big snow. (If you aren’t driving) It’s a great way to get out an explore a marshy or wooded area and since you go slow, you see everything.

Cross country skiing, my nemesis. Cross country skiing and I have a love/hate relationship. I have taken a beginner skate skiing class from Gear West for the last five years. It took four years for me to graduate from the beginner class. While some people are naturals with the form, I am not. The good news is that when I get frustrated with my cross country skis, I can switch to my classic skis and just walk/glide. While I might not have the form for racing, again, it is beautiful and a great workout. (Especially with as hard as I struggle at it!)

The bottom line for any of these activities is that they are just like going to the gym; the hardest part is simply getting yourself there. I would highly encourage anyone looking for fun ideas for winter fitness to build time into their schedule each week to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Your body and mind will thank you. Depression and simple bad moods increase when sunlight and exercise decrease. Combat your winter blues and get outside, take a nature break and see how much better you feel!

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