Even in the South, there are times when winter weather makes outdoor exercise less than appealing, and sometimes, even unsafe. But that is no reason to give up on your fitness goals! While you may take the opportunity to give yourself a much-deserved rest day, when Old Man Winter hangs around more than a day or so, it’s time to look for alternatives.
If cold temps or hazardous conditions are preventing your normal outdoor workouts, this is a great time to check out your local gyms and community centers. While they likely have memberships or subscriptions, many will also have small packages or individual classes available. You may even find a free trial day/week to try out all of their offerings. From walking tracks to indoor pools, weight rooms to group classes, there is a wide variety of fitness activities that can keep you moving towards your goals, like kickboxing, Pilates, weight training, yoga, dance, racquetball and so many other activities. You might find a fun way to not only keep moving when the weather is bad, but also give you a new way to change up your routines to prevent plateaus. If there is a mall or a large store nearby, they can provide a safe indoor area where just a few laps can earn you plenty of steps toward your daily goal.
If Jack Frost has coated roadways, then it may be that you need to find activities at home. Don’t have a home gym? No worries! You may be surprised at the options that are at your fingertips.
- Go digital! Try an exercise DVD, access a program on your preferred cable or streaming service, or search the internet. Many program types and lengths are available. If you are a member of a health club, check to see if they provide video workouts through their website or an app.
- Put on your favorite tunes and have a dance party in your living room. Get the kids involved to help them get the wiggles out too!
- Long before modern fitness equipment and trends, the military relied on calisthenics (or body weight exercises) to help soldiers stay fit. Exercises like push-ups, crunches, leg lifts, planks, squats, lunges, chair dips, and calf raises can all be completed with no special equipment.
- Make your own DIY gym equipment. Need a small hand weight? A can of soup weighs about ¾-1 pound depending on type of soup) and a 2-liter bottle of a soft drink weighs about 4 ½ pounds. Enjoy time on a stair climber? Climb the stairs in your home.
- Try speed cleaning. Do some deep cleaning where you move furniture and vacuum under/behind the couch and other large pieces then move quickly while you sweep or mop. You’ll get some strength training as well as aerobic workout.
These things may not be exactly like your normal workout, but they can be used to provide some resistance and aerobic benefits serving as a new option to use on days when life schedules or weather make your normal routines impossible. The main thing is to keep moving. Finding a safe alternative workout can help you beat Jack Frost and help you get one step closer to your health goals.
Mayo Clinic. “6 suggestions for indoor exercise” https://diet.mayoclinic.org/us/blog/2021/6-suggestions-for-indoor-exercise/ accessed 1/16/24
Fuqua, Kasey. “6 Ways to Exercise Indoors and Avoid Winter Weather” January 17, 2017 https://www.thehealthjournals.com/exercise-indoors-avoid-winter/ accessed 1/16/24