Cold temperatures mean that my early morning runs and post-dinner walks will soon turn into workouts on the "dreadmill." Here are my favorite ways to keep cold-weather workouts interesting.
By Tina Haupert
As much as I don't want the cold weather to come, winter is inevitably on its way. Cold temperatures mean that my early morning runs and post-dinner walks will soon turn into workouts on the "dreadmill." Sure, I could continue to run and walk outside, but I'm just not that hard-core when it comes to cold weather!
In the past, my diet suffered the second the thermometer started to drop. Before reaching my Feel Great Weight, I'd show up at the gym without a fun workout planned and I'd fail to push myself. Sooner or later, those gym visits became more sporadic, my holiday cookie consumption grew tenfold, and my jeans felt tight all season.
Since then I've found that as long as I try new activities, my workouts in the fall and winter months tend to be just as fun and intense. An added bonus? I end up feeling motivated all winter long. Here are my favorite ways to keep cold-weather workouts interesting.
Try new things on the treadmill
Most people don't believe me when I say this, but I rarely get bored on the treadmill. To keep me entertained while running or walking, I make sure that I have a plan. I almost always utilize some sort of cardio workout to guide my time on the treadmill—either I create my own workouts or tear out a plan I found in a magazine.
Interval workouts (where I'm constantly changing my speed) keep my mind and body the most engaged. I also love playing games on the treadmill, like rolling dice to determine how many miles I should complete or seeing how fast I can run in 3-, 4-, and 5-minute durations. And I try to schedule my treadmill workouts around my favorite TV shows. That 30 or 60 minutes is perfect for squeezing in my cardio and my favorite guilty pleasures.
Start a yoga challenge
I don't regularly practice yoga, but during the winter months I make a point to do more Downward Dogs. Yoga is amazing not only for my body, but for my mind and soul too. The fall and winter months can be dreary and depressing, but yoga is just the trick to perk me up. Last year, I hosted a 31-day Yoga Challenge on my blog to get me and my readers to do something healthy for our bodies while helping us get out of our cold weather funks. I particularly like Bikram, or hot, yoga. Forget the blustery weather outside–the studio feels just like a scorching summer day!
Go with a group
My gym offers a slew of group exercises that keep my workouts new and fresh, like Body Pump, Bosu Challenge, step aerobics, Spinning, Yogalates, and the list goes on! There's always at least one class that catches my interest. I like to pick a class that's totally out of my comfort zone—like Urban Rebounding, where you jump on a mini trampoline for 45 minutes. It keeps me interested, challenges new muscle groups, and motivates me to stay active.
Unleash your inner high schooler
Sometimes dragging myself to the gym can be, well, a drag. But I have such great memories of my high school soccer team, so this winter I think I'll challenge myself to join an adult league. Sports quite literally make a game out of working out, and many adult leagues hold indoor competitions during colder months. They're a great way to stretch my body and my social calendar too!
What are your winter workout strategies?
Read Tina's daily food and fitness blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.