Weekend Physical Activity Boost: Stay Warm by Staying Fit this Winter!

January 04, 2013

3216646

By Lizzy Parker, HSC communications intern

Lizzy Parker is a junior at Colorado College and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. As an intern at HSC, she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for and knowledge about physical activity—and, that it can be fun!

When the thermometer drops, our motivation to exercise often does too.  It can be hard to maintain whatever exercise routine we keep during the summer when the weather turns cold and the days get shorter.  Beckoned by piping cups of hot chocolate and movies, kids are also less inclined to get outdoors.  When my own motivation begins to wane, I remind myself of something I know but often forget: exercise can be fun!
   
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I have endured more than my fair share of brutally cold winters.  As a kid, however, the weather never stopped me from being outside.  From walking to and from school with my best friend to weekend afternoons at the outdoor ice rink, I remained active year-round. As kids, we loved it. The winter months are in many ways accommodating for fun-filled activity boosters. Though some of these ideas are obvious, I am here to remind you of them.  This weekend, forgo the screens,  get the family together, and move!

Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Build something: igloos, snowmen, snow family, snow critters, mini golf course  
  • Tag football: If you think this is only fun in the summer, think again.  Put on your best snow gear and grab your football.  Hint: this is best played when there is a lot of snow. It is surprisingly satisfying to make a touchdown while falling on a pillowy cloud of fresh snow.
  • Snowshoeing: Walking with snowshoes automatically will make you feel more intense.  I guarantee your kids will find this activity very entertaining. Though designed for safely hiking in the mountains during the winter, snowshoeing can be done anywhere.  
  • Cross country skiing: All you need is the gear and an open field.  Check your local area for places that rent boots and skis. If you have never does this before, I am warning you it is no joke — this is a serious cardio workout.  But it is really, really fun.
  • Snowball target practice: Snowball fights are fun, but tricky territory.  Someone’s feelings (or more) are bound to get hurt.  Instead, set up a target on a tree and take turns aiming for the bullseye.  
  • Treasure hunt: If you have access to a GPS or a smartphone with GPS capabilities, you have all you need for Geocaching.  Geocaching is “a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” Don’t have a GPS? Create your own treasure hunt by hiding items in the snow.  

Have fun!

Disclaimer: The recommendations on this blog are not meant to be a substitute for recommendations from your physician. Take care to consult with your physician if you have questions or concerns about beginning a new exercise regimen. As always, if something hurts, don’t do it. Know your body’s limits and refrain for pushing yourself too far, too fast.