It’s one of winter’s ironies -- right when you make your resolution to become fitter and healthier in the New Year, January greets you with single digit temperatures, icy rains, and knee-deep snows. How are you supposed to start that interval training running program, or stick to your 50-laps-a-day goal, when it’s just so frigid outside? Luckily, winter is hiding some stealth opportunities to stay fit. Read on for ideas to ramp up or begin your winter fitness routine.
SuperBowl Sunday is just a few weeks away; until then, playoff games will dominate Saturdays and Sundays. Borrow those football players’ competitive spirit and gather a few friends to play touch football. The sport burns up to 403 calories per hour; plus, its stop-and-go intensity mirrors interval training, which boosts metabolism and improves aerobic capacity.
If football -- watching it or playing it -- isn’t your thing, you can still sneak in some exercise in front of the TV. At the very least, aim to do bodyweight exercises (squats, lunges, push-ups, plank) during commercials; aim to do as many reps as possible during each commercial segment. Even better: aim to complete your whole exercise routine in the allotted time given for your show (either 30 minutes or 60 minutes). Try this routine from Fitness Magazine, or mix-and-match with these ten exercises.
Take a page from your children’s book and get your heart rate up with a jump rope or hula hoop. Jumping rope burns as many calories as running an eight-minute mile; plus, it utilizes both upper and lower body strength, making it a calorie-torcher. Hula hooping is another surprising way to tone and increase cardiovascular fitness. Keeping the hoop moving requires your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core muscles to work in sync, not only toning your body all over but improving rhythm and coordination as well as flexibility.
Cold weather is the perfect excuse to try out new classes that are being offered in your gym. Yoga, Pilates, spinning and Zumba are all great ways to boost fitness, tone your muscles, and burn calories, but 2013 will see a boom in new fitness classes. Fusion classes, like Piloxing, aerial yoga, and Core Fusion Barre, mix workouts that offer different benefits (be it flexibility, aerobic fitness, or strength). Its benefit is that it forces your body to work in a way it’s not used to, ultimately making your workout doubly efficient. Boot camp workouts, high intensity interval training, and Functional Fitness are also seeing a surge in popularity.