But when the ball dropped at the end of 2014, we made a resolution to get back to exercise. It may be easier to stay with the program in more temperate climates, but just because of our Michigan address, it doesn’t mean we get a free pass through the winter. We just have to be a little more innovative, a little more creative, and show a bit more toughness. We have to be Michiganders.
So, here are some ideas for staying fit even when comfort foods and the lit up screens call us with their siren songs:
- If you’re going to watch YouTube, use it to stay fit. If you ever thought that you could only access a great workout through a gym membership or paying for DVD’s, YouTube is your new best friend. YouTube now has several channels filled with people who offer healthy, varied workouts. Some of our favorites are Fitness Blender, BeFit, and Pop Sugar. BeFit is the official YouTube channel for Jillian Michaels and Denise Austin and you can find Billy Blanks, Jr. and Jane Fonda as well. Fitness Blender offers new videos all the time. Husband and wife team Daniel and Kelli take you through very organized, structured workouts, many with a timer in the upper right corner and a calorie bar. They specialize in HIIT (high intensity interval training), which sounds worse than it is. The exercises are challenging, and if they are too hard, they are over soon! Pop Sugar has several short form targeted videos and longer videos, many with a timer device, as well. Pop Sugar targets young women in their fitness and ad content.
- Try out some indoor exercise opportunities. If you have access to an indoor pool, take a few laps. If you think you can successfully ice skate, give it a try. If somebody invites you to their co-ed volleyball game, say yes. If your buddy has the keys to a gym, go in and shoot some hoops.
- Walk indoors. Mall walking is low impact aerobic exercise and and costs very little. If you take along a toddler in a stroller, you will never be too far away from a bathroom or a place to stop. The most challenging part of mall walking is not negating your progress at the food court and keeping up a fast enough pace. You can also try walking in other larger buildings like museums. If you are upright and walking, even leisurely, you are engaging in exercise. You can go through a museum twice, once to enjoy the displays and a second time for your “speed run”.
- If your kids or grandkids are video gamers, be sure they have a fitness game and join in with them. They love seeing their parents or grandparents making fools of themselves and some of the games (particularly the dancing ones) pack a nice calorie-burning punch, too.
- Design your own winter exercise routine. Mix it up with weight bearing exercises, abdominal crunches and some old standby calisthenics (jumping jacks, lunges, squats, pushups, wall sits). Put on your favorite music and time yourself, with 30 to 40 seconds of exercise and a 10 second rest between. Build up to 30 minutes either at a time, or cumulatively throughout the day.
- Don’t hide yourself inside. When the weather isn’t frightful, but just cold, dress up and take a brisk walk. Be sure you are well covered head to toe with decent gloves and sturdy shoes and walk outside, particularly if it is sunny. Certain state parks have open trails during the winter and you can ask the staff and rangers which ones are cleared and passable. And the nearest high school track is a safe bet for a quick few laps on a cold winter day. Better yet, head to the Detroit zoo and just go visit a few animals and then call it a day (easiest to do if you are a member).