Winter workouts

Ideas to keep you warmed up and motivated as temperatures dip


Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 11:19 p.m.

Facts

Work on your mind and muscles

Winter is a time of rest, but can also be a time of renewal.
Now that you know how to keep your body fit, Carol Frazier, a Nashville personal trainer, life coach and motivational speaker, has some tips that will keep your mind and spirit fit, too.

  • Exercise your brain. Take the whole winter to gradually put together a giant puzzle. Introduce yourself to opera and classical music, or start a hobby or music lessons.
  • Take deep breaths. Most people take short breaths - usually through their mouths - that prevent them from getting enough oxygen. Practice breathing using your diaphragm: inhaling slowly through the nose, expanding the rib cage and waistline, and exhaling through the mouth, contracting the rib cage and waistline. It's a great way to destress.
  • Re-evaluate your eating habits. This winter, set some dietary goals for yourself, such as eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, cutting trans fats out of your diet, cutting down on processed foods or drinking more water.
  • Take some time off. Society pressures us to always feel like we must be doing something, but doing nothing can be good for you, too. Start building in time for yourself and your family and the things you love to do. Commit to not overscheduling and resist accepting every social invitation, especially as the busy holiday season approaches.

  • Cooler temperatures are upon us, and that's often enough to put your workout routine into hibernation.
    "Everybody wants to be active in the winter," says Carol Frazier, a Nashville personal trainer, life coach and motivational speaker. "But it does have its challenges."
    Instead of putting your workout routine to bed this winter, invigorate it with some of these ideas.
  • Cross train. If the weather prevents you from doing your running, cycling or other cardiovascular workout outdoors, bring your cardiovascular workout indoors. Join a gym and spend some time on the treadmill, rower, stair climber or indoor bike.
    Frazier says winter is an excellent time to cross train and do different muscle and cardio workouts. This will prevent overuse injuries and get your body out of the rut of always doing the same things. You'll also see gains in strength and endurance so when spring comes, you'll be ready to pick up where you left off.
  • Try something new. Avoid the blahs of the same-old-same-old by taking up a new exercise class or other indoor workout. Haven't tried yoga yet? Give it a shot.
    You can try ice skating, indoor rock climbing, belly dance classes or ballroom dancing, just to name a few. Or take a new class at the gym where you're already a member.
    Low on funds? Check out a video or DVD.
    Don't have the money for a gym membership? That's still no excuse not to stay fit this winter.
    Caryn Klein, fitness director at the Gordon Jewish Community Center in Nashville, says that if funds are a problem, exercise videos are the way to go. They usually cost less than $15, and you can even check them out of the library for free.
    Mall walking or making a conscious effort to park away from the building you're headed to and to take the stairs can also add several steps to your day.
  • Stretch. Frazier says stretching is just as important as strengthening, but most people don't give it any time at all. As we get older, our connective tissues get shorter and more brittle and snap more easily, which makes stretching all the more important.
    Take a few yoga classes and then do them at home. Just 10 to 15 minutes two times a week will go a long way.
  • Take up a winter sport. Make a winter snowboarding or skiing vacation, then train for it.
    If the Rockies or Vermont are out of reach, plan a shorter, less costly ski trip to Paoli, Ind., western North Carolina or West Virginia.
    If you can't make it out of town, bundle up and take a hike around the state park nearest you.
  • Set a goal. Missy Hagy, a wellness coordinator at a YMCA, says that goal setting can keep you motivated this winter.
    Your goal could be to train for a ski vacation, lose a certain number of pounds or be able to run a certain number of miles. On your way to your final goal, set intermediate goals and milestones to break up the cold winter months.
    "With winter, you lose a lot of enthusiasm because it's cold out," Hagy says, "so, if you do have a goal, that makes it easier to move forward."
  • Don't go it alone. No matter what form of exercise you choose or what goals you set for winter, supportive friends and training partners make a huge difference, Hagy says. A YMCA running group, for example, meets every day at 5:30 a.m.
    They'll tell you that knowing others are waiting for them makes getting out of bed on a cold morning a whole lot easier.
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