Yes, enjoy winter workouts outdoors
Editor's note: This column is one in a series as three RiverTown Multimedia reporters take part in the Slim Down with RiverTown weightloss challenge.
After a snowy February and the frigid temperatures from this winter, I'm sure it's hard to find workouts to do besides going to the gym.
I'm here to tell you that there are plenty of fun activities that also are workouts. Since I've been living in Minnesota all of my life, I thought it would be good to try some outdoor, snow activities.
Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun and it's reached a point where I'm looking forward to doing it again.
One of the biggest activities I tried in February was snowshoeing. With record amounts of snow, I found it easy to find paths to try the activity. Places such as parks or golf courses often allow snowshoeing since they aren't used for anything else during the winter.
There are certain places that allow you to rent the shoes, but honestly purchasing a pair isn't that expensive and you know you'll be able to use them every winter season in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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Another activity I've been learning more about is skiing. I learned that alpine skiing is not the sport for me since you go downhill with a fast speed, but nordic skiing is enjoyable.
Many cities have places with nordic ski trails and such along with renting equipment. I haven't looked into purchasing equipment since it's a new sport for me, but that's also another option.
With nordic skiing, it can be a 20-minute ski or it can also be an hour. It depends on what you want to do that day. My skis have ranged, but typically 30-40 minutes gives you a good workout without taking everything out of you.
Finally, the last activity I've started to enjoy is running or jogging outside. I know what you're thinking. It's 5 degrees and there's snow and ice, but it's actually an enjoyable activity if you're smart and aware of your surroundings.
I found some winter running shoes for a reasonable price and they've worked really well during the last few months. I also dress in layers because it's cold and you need to be aware of the conditions outside.
I never thought I would enjoy being outside in the winter, but these last few weeks have opened my eyes to many other activities people can do in these snowy months.
I wouldn't suggest going outside in temperatures like we experienced earlier in February when it reached 40 below and 50 below wind chills because you can't be outside that long before frostbite occurs. But if it's 10 or 20 degrees and you have nothing to do for an hour or so, try it.
It doesn't have to be every day because it can get expensive if you're renting equipment, but try it two or three times a week. This also allows you to invite other people to do your workout with you.
I've started inviting people to come with me and it seems like more people will say yes to snowshoeing rather than going to the gym. People don't look at it as a workout, but rather an outdoor activity.
The last month I've started looking forward to my workouts outside and it's changed my mentality during February. I'm excited to continue these activities in March, but hopefully the snow melts in April and I can start my summer activities.
Happy March to everyone and enjoy what the Midwest has in store.
Tip of the week from Vibrant Health
Why more water
By Greg Miller, M.D.
Make water your No. 1 drink of choice. Choosing water helps us stay healthy and hydrated especially in the dry winter months. It is also calorie free.
Set a specific goal for the day.
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