As the days shrink so might your motivation for fitness. Who wants to leave the comfy perch of home to go out where it’s cold and dark? Doesn’t sound tempting. But three certainties can cajole you:
It’s all the same inside
If you’re opting for indoor exercise, it doesn’t matter if it’s frigid or tropical outside. As long as the weather lets you get to your walled facility of choice, odds are the temperature and humidity inside remain the same no matter the month.
It’s prime time for cold-weather sports
If you enjoy anything that involves snow, good luck doing it during the summer unless you fly south, where the seasons are reversed. Now is the time to take advantage, especially if the fluffy stuff falls in your neck of the woods.
It’s always time to feel good
No matter which way you cut it, being active boosts your mood. It’s also been shown to make you more productive and a whole bunch of other thumbs-up things, plus you get the distinct upsides that come with particular sports, which we’ll explore right now.
Indoor rock climbing
Indoor climbing gyms are popping up at a dizzying rate, so you’re bound to live close to one. Most gyms rent all the equipment you need. If you’re bouldering, shoes and a chalk bag will do. If you’re rope climbing, you’ll also need a harness (and a partner if the gym doesn’t have auto-belays).
Benefits: Most folks aren’t used to the motions climbing demands, so your whole body will probably be sore the next day – the sweet affirmation of having been active. And if you focus on your movements and breathe smoothly, you’ll drop into a meditative zone.
“Mountain biking is one of my favorite sports,” says Christine Hagemeyer, senior general manager with Unum Fitness, in Chattanooga, Tenn., which has a bevy of top-notch trails, from easy to advanced. “It is great for the colder months because you can bundle up until you get moving, and then strip some layers and throw them in a backpack.”
If you don’t live in a place laced with trails, you can still find a park to pedal through, or road bike. If you don’t own a bike or aren’t ready to purchase one, rent one at an outdoor store like REI or a bike store like Trek.
If you’ve never tried the sport before, it’s wise to start on beginner paths. And always wear a helmet.
Benefits: You’ll get a cardio workout and hone your concentration. Plus, you’re outside, which does good things for your emotional wellbeing and mind. Bonus: If you’re in a wooded area, your two-wheel trip might also boost your immune system.
(indoors or outdoors)
Ice skating is right up there as far as seasonal, novel sports go. Plus, a steamy cup of hot tea is a tasty reward when you’re done.
Benefits: As long as you don’t cling to those side walls the whole time, you’ll burn plenty of calories: about 520 an hour if you weigh 155 pounds. You’ll also refine your coordination.
If none of these sports does much to stoke you, explore outdoor activities near your home on rootsrated.com.
And if you’re not convinced about heading out your door, that’s okay. “Even catching up on chores around the house will keep you moving and healthy,” Hagemeyer says.
Connect with journalist and wellness writer Mitra Malek at http://www.mitramalek.com/.