Winter isn’t all that great. Between cold weather, reduced exposure to sunlight, involuntarily reconnecting with family members you haven’t exactly missed, spending your hard-earned money on other people’s gifts and being confined to the indoors, we’re almost tempted to meet spring with astounding applause.

But one of the worst parts of winter is definitely the feeling that you’re preparing for hibernation. Everywhere you turn, there’s food. Connie at work made a 7-layer peppermint chocolate cake. You don’t want to be rude, so you take a slice. Jeanine made a hearty batch of her meaty chili. You have two bowls because it’s so cold outside. Then there are Christmas cookies, Grandma’s special eggnog, four course ham dinners and sitting down in front of a cozy fire and not moving for hours on end.

In spring, we’re rewarded with 15 extra pounds and jeans that don’t fit comfortably. Every year we vow to do better next winter.

Guess what. It’s almost “next winter.”

Here’s how to stay healthy and fit this season, like you promised you’d do.

Winter Sports

Sports are a great way to trick your body into exercising. You’re having fun and working out without even realizing it! Skiing and snowboarding are actually a great workout, plus both activities can last a long time. In just an hour of skiing, you can burn over 400 calories an hour! For more intense winter sports like cross country skiing, you’ll burn even more calories. If you live close to slopes, buy a winter pass and try to make it out a few weekends a month. You can trade in your weekend gym workouts for skiing and your drab gym wear for stylish ski jackets and snowboard pants! Working out, is after all, at least partly about looking good, right?

Even winter activities like ice skating and sledding are better than nothing. Get out there and make it happen!

Intramural Sports

Again, sports are the perfect way to mask your workouts under the guise of “fun” — unless, of course, you’re the type of person that loves running on a treadmill in the dead of winter. Do those people even exist?

At any rate, taking part in an intramural sports league helps keep you in shape, hone your athletic skills and gives you an opportunity to meet new people. Be sure to choose an active sport like basketball or indoor soccer to get your heart rate up and keeps you moving. Ping pong won’t do your heart rate much good. If you’re competitive, search for a serious league to ensure that your team won’t die off when the going gets rough.

Work Towards A Goal

If you’re the type of person that enjoys outdoor exercise during the warmer months, set goals for yourself to achieve when the warm weather finally returns. Whether it’s training for a race, conquering your favorite trail faster than you ever have before or swimming across your favorite lake, you’ll find that your gym workouts aren’t nearly as drab when you have a goal in mind!

Don’t Procrastinate

The number one, most detrimental decision you could make for your winter fitness is to keep putting off. Saying you’ll check out the slopes next weekend, sign up at the gym tomorrow or find an intramural league on Tuesday will get you nowhere. Do it now, or forever hold your peace.


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