The thing that sucks about the holidays ending is that you feel like winter should be over too…and it’s so not. It’s just getting started. Now there’s no cheer, just lots of slush as you trek to the gym. It’s dark at 6 PM. Sad. But just like eating seasonally is great for your health, working out seasonally can be a good way to mix up an otherwise boring workout routine!
If you live somewhere snowy (sorry, warm-climate peeps), here are some great sports to try this month.
Skiing and snowboarding. Skiing does great things to your quads and ass, plain and simple. And snowboard requires mad balance, which works your core. I like these sports for the same reason I like tennis — the outfits, the lodge, etc. I took skiing lessons once as a teenager, but given that I had not fully discovered my own athleticism, I was not good at it. I’m willing to give it another shot though…even if it means being 24-years-old and on the bunny hill!
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. These are the two winter sports I really want to try this year. Either one is fine with me! I actually like cold weather and working out in it is exhilarating! I always feel really refreshed when I take a brisk walk, and this is like a brisk walk to the 30th power. I’m not sure if I’ll have time to do it in January, but I definitely want to before winter is over.
Sledding. Fun! Wheeeeee! Tone your ass as you walk up that hill!!
Ice skating. Everyone thinks she can’t ice skate…I assure you, you can! When I was in college, we had a Greek Week ice skating mixer and I think all the girls and guys surprised themselves. Everyone ended up getting really into it, and there were a couple spills, but it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I’m so clumsy, my mom really discouraged me from going, but I didn’t fall once! I mean, luckily I had Julia there to take care of me. (Story of my life.)
Ice skating is also amazing for your lower body and it should also get your heart pumping! (Bonus: you’ll look cuter skating than you will doing any of the others…although you’ll feel more BA boarding.)
If you’re a beginner, you can investigate different ways to try in your area in terms of taking lessons, renting equipment, etc. Don’t hesitate to rent equipment while you try it out; if you don’t really love it, no harm done! It’ll probably be a fun outing that gets your cheeks rosy and gives you an excuse to drink some hot chocolate. I know Michigan State offered ice skating as a one-credit class, so that’s always a cool. (I could never take it because it was always full, but I really wanted to!)
I read in the January issue of “Shape” that there is a program this month offering discounted skiing, boarding, and snowshoeing lessons, so I investigated it, and it’s actually a pretty good deal! It’s called Learn a Snow Sport and you can check the Web site to see if any lessons are offered in your state. I was delighted to see that this is one time Michigan actually can represent!! I have to call to get a bit more info but I think the $20 cross-country skiing is perfect for me. (Michigan people…anyone care to join me?) There’s also an ice rink close to my house, so I want need to go work on my triple lutz sometime before March.
All these sports make for really fun friend dates or real dates, so enlist a girl friend (let’s upgrade from catching up over coffee, shall we?) or your boyfriend who keeps saying he wants to shape up! It really helps to have someone to laugh with if you fall down, and feel like a baller with if you don’t. Fitness should be fun and doing this once in a while is just so enjoyable. Sorry, but running on the treadmill just can’t compare to skating hand-in-hand with a cute guy or clutching your BFF for dear life on the chair lift. Oh and when the Olympics start, you’ll suddenly have this crazy interest in them and feel as though you have total authority on a sport you’ve done twice…and that’s a really good feeling!
Trying a winter sport and finding one you enjoy can actually help you look forward to the cold weather. Maybe by this time next year, we’ll all be looking forward to two more months of winter! You can be excited about how you’re going to tone up instead of just excited about how you’ve put on enough pounds that you don’t even need to put on a sweater.
And at the very least, you can feel like a snow bunny. (Obviously reason number one for me.)