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Budget Friendly Tips For Exercising in Cold Weather

Posted Nov 30 2010 11:28pm
Ummm... this would be the advanced section of outdoor exercise.

I do not like being cold. Also, I am cold all the time. Knowing these two facts will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about me. It why I hate swimming (also known as controlled drowning). It's why big fuzzy socks are my go-to gift (both for others and for myself). It's why I avoid Black Friday like the plague (Cyber Monday however did some wallet damage). It's also the 3rd main reason I married my husband - in addition to loving and honoring, he promised to let me put my ice-cube tootsies on him until I fall asleep; it's in our vows and everything. (In case you are curious, reason #1 was he is the smartest, kindest, handsomest man I have ever met and reason #2 was he proposed with a Cracker Jack ring - how do you say no to that?!)

So if I won't venture outside of my toasty house for even the lure of the best sale of the year, it goes without saying that outdoor running, biking, hiking, swimming and frisbee are out of the question until I can breathe without snot-cicles forming. But a girl's still got to get her sweat on, even if she does live in the frozen wasteland of the north. (Dear Global Warming, Can you please move a little faster? You are awesome and I love you. Kidding. Mostly. Please don't write me irate environmental e-mails.)

Of course working out in cold weather is easy if you have a gym membership and a car to get you there but there are lots of other options for the more frugal:

1. Go outside anyways. Some of you like this. For instance, Nitmos of Feet Meet Street loves running so much that the only concession he makes to the weather is in his choice of clothing. (Of course, this is the same man who measures the windchill by the amount of " nipple erectus " he is sporting so take his advice as you will.) Seriously though, there are lots of fun outdoor options like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and snowboarding that are only available in the winter and even I will stop whining about my frozen phalanges once I break a sweat. Just make sure you wear gloves and cover your ears - no matter how warm and sweaty your core gets, your extremities will still be ice blocks.

2. Make a home gym. I know, I know, I said cheap tips and these can get pretty pricey but you don't need fancy equipment to get a good sweat! Do you have stairs? Run them. Yes, your cat will look at you like you're out of your freaking mind but that's what cats do. Do you have a long-ish piece of rope and a banister to run it through? (No, there will not be a knot-tying test you Boy Scout, you.) You can do pretty much every move from the TRX workouts with just a rope. Yeah, it's better with the TRX (man, I love that thing and no they're not paying me to say that) but you don't have to have one to use your own bodyweight against you.

3. Bodyweight exercises. You can do these anytime anywhere. Impress your boss by pumping out one push-up for every copy that comes out of the machine (just don't do this on annual-report printing day. Unless you're Chuck Norris.) Put your back foot up on a chair and do Bulgarian Split Squats (also known as chair lunges for those of us who can't find Bulgaria on a map with a compass and an East European field guide) while you check your voice mail. Do wall sits during conference calls (and if anyone questions why you sound constipated tell them you are and then just enjoy the awkward silence that will inevitably follow). You are only limited by your threshold for public embarrassment.

4. Online fitness tutorials. Hello, YouTube! There are free workouts doing everything from CrossFit to Pilates to Kettlebells and many are posted by professionals (that are then hoping you'll buy their books and DVDs, natch). Netflix also offers tons of fitness vids and you can even stream them instantly to your computer or TV! There are also free websites dedicated to just this kind of thing. My absolute favorite: Bodyrock.tv ! We talked about the fitness-porn aspect of Zuzanna's site before but I haven't told you (well now I have) how I have fallen completely in love with her workouts. They are hardcore! And frankly, if I had her crazy cut abs I'd probably dress like that too. (No I wouldn't. Not even six-pack abs can hide these stretch marks.) Want to start hard? Her Sexy Beast workout kicked the Gym Buddies and my butts. KICKED. Plus, she requires very minimal equipment. This workout only needs a broom and two chairs!

5. DVDs. They're kind of the go-to indoor workout but I have to be honest with you: I don't really get a good sweat from DVD's, not even with Jillian Michaels "shredding" me. (I know, it's blasphemy.) I don't know if it's the boredom factor or that I hate being able to recite their jokes along with them (you know I love you Tony Horton but I need P90X in real time) but I rarely do these. Yet I was recently reminded that they can be a fun change of pace when I tried out the Bad Kitty Sassy Fitness Bootcamp DVD . It's hip hop. It's boot camp. It... kinda defies description. But it was really fun! And decently difficult too. Plus, anyone that wears glitter studded cuffs and leopard burnout tanks is my kind of Gym Buddy.

What's your fave tip for exercising in cold temps? Anyone else completely cold intolerant like me or do you love a good brisk run in -20 windchill? Do you not-so-secretly love Zuzanna too?


Written with love by Charlotte Hilton Andersen for The Great Fitness Experiment (c) 2010. Thanks for reading!
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