10 Ideas to Keep you Moving during Minnesota Winters

Did you ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Or does a frozen nose and wet toes make you feel like Joker’s next victim?

Couple walking in the snow

It can be hard to keep yourself motivated in the cold months.

Sometimes it’s hard to make time for working out, especially when it’s so cold and dark you’re thinking about a vacation on Hoth. Here are some ideas to keep you moving through the winter!

1. Keeping it short is OK.

If you don’t like the outside or if you’re in a downtown human Habitrail (Skyway) or a large work campus, take a brisk stroll during lunch. Mall walks are another great way to get moving in the winter without the cold. Remember, 20-30 minutes of activity per day, 5 days a week is not very long and can fly by, while having significant benefits to your health.

2. Don’t make it complicated.

Walking, shoveling (right?), sledding (especially the uphill part), and skating all count toward your daily activity!

3. Prepare for it.

Set out your stuff the night before so it’s ready to go to workout. That eliminates the possibility for the “I can’t find my ….” game you might play with yourself.

4. Take rest days.

If you are working out you need them. 2 days of light workouts or one really heavy day earn you a rest. Your body has to recover.

5. Blog or diary your exercise.

Let the world know what you achieve or keep it to yourself but record it so you can track your progress. Tracking activity vs. calories, gradually upping the ante, can almost feel like keeping track of points in a game! 

6. Make a date!

Its harder to blow off a workout buddy than to just sit home alone. Meet at the gym, the mall or the downtown human Habitrail (Skyway). Put the reminder in your phone twice, once with the regular alarm and another time with the really annoying two-minutes-before-the-drop-dead alarm. You’ll find yourself moving just to avoid the second alarm.

7. Consider a gym.

Many gyms have winter trials or specials and that gives you options. Swimming is better than ice skating any day in my book and nothing beats the sauna to finally warm up midwinter.

8. Consider a FitBit, pedometer, pacer, or any of the other gadgets of apps out there to track your progress.

I enjoy entering my food and exercise into the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. This app, which can be found through www.myfitnesspal.com, tracks calories and nutritional info by scanning bar codes from packaged foods, national food chains, and restaurants, and can also track favorite recipes and homemade items. It has a huge database that covers tons of different activities and calculates energy expenditure in calories. Since calories are a measure of energy, it does make it seem like a diet calorie counting program but it is actually much more, tracking nutrition on a daily and weekly basis. If anyone is interested, you can friend me as geohard on MyFitnessPal!

9. Remember, winter doesn’t mean the end of life.

With the right shoes, coat, and hat, a wildlife walk on a plowed trail can be anything but boring or tedious.

10. Lastly, winter doesn’t last forever.

Remember the warmth and sunshine of a nice winter thaw or that early spring day is not that far away. Getting out now will help you appreciate it even more when it comes time to enjoy that too.

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