5 Ideas for Staying in Shape This Winter

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Well, Halloween is over and November is upon us, which in my mind means that we’ve transitioned from fall to winter. I realize that technically November is still fall, but remember, I was raised in NEPA’s higher elevations and usually by the time Thanksgiving’s come around temperatures have dropped and we’ve had a few snowfalls. If I’m not mistaken it’s already snowed in NEPA a time or two this year. I also was raised by a mother who starts bringing out the Christmas tunes pre-Thanksgiving, so that sort of gives November a winter feel as well.

I know there’s people out there that hate the cold and snow, but I for one love it (at least until March, then I’m ready for it to go away). Being outside in the winter and plenty of my favorite outdoor activities require some snow.

I know some people equate the winter with weight gain, as the cold weather and shorter days eliminate the want to workout, coupled with an onslaught of holiday parties, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s plenty of stuff for you to do to keep in shape, try new things, not spend a ton of cash and do with groups that can be done in the winter months.

So in the vein of my fall list of things to do on the weekend to stay in shape, here are five suggestions for getting active in the wintertime.

1) Dogsledding:

So, you might be saying to yourself, sitting on a sled while a team of huskies drags you around sounds like a great time, but how is it going to get me in shape? You’re correct. It probably won’t. What will is learning how to dogsled which you could do via Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours at the Inn at Pocono Manor near East Stroudsburg. This tour (which got great reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor) teaches you how to successfully “mush” a dogsled before letting you get out there on your own. Instructors will ride alongside you on a snowmobile to make sure nothing goes wrong and take photographs for what I’m sure will be your new Facebook profile.

I’ve already emailed them about setting up an appointment.

2) XC Skiing:

Cross Country skiing is one of my favorite things to do. If you’ve been following this blog you’ve probably caught onto that and I’ve written extensively  about how I feel that more people should try this underrated sport.

Cross Country skiing with my brother in cousin in Pleasant Mt. PA last Christmas. This is one of my favorite pictures.
Cross Country skiing with my brother in cousin in Pleasant Mt. PA last Christmas. This is one of my favorite pictures.

Cross country skiing is an amazing workout that burns up to 900 calories an hour and is extremely cheap if you have your own skies because you could ski anywhere. Groomed trails are nice and all but rail-trails, golf courses, back roads and state parks all make for great cross country locales and blazing your own trail only makes you work that much harder. If you want to spend time with friends cross country skiing is great because unlike downhill, you’re able to talk the entire time.

Did I mention how easy it is to turn this into a bar crawl?

3) Snow Shoeing:

I went snow shoeing for the first time last year in Lake Placid and enjoyed it much more than I thought it would. Snow shoes take you where cross country skies can’t–think of it like winter hiking. You also need less snow. I’m investing in a pair for this winter. Like XC skiing, once you own snowshoes, the activity is practically free.

Lake Placid Snow Shoe
Snow shoeing in Lake Placid last year. How great is that view?

4) Sledding:

I’m not talking about snowmobiles here, but indeed about your favorite childhood snowy tradition. I still try and get a good sledding outing every year. Why does the fun have to stop when you’re an adult? Sleds are cheap and you probably have a couple of good hills you can take advantage of and the staying in shape part comes into play when you realize you have to climb that hill over and over and over again.

My cousin and I did some nighttime sledding during a snow storm over last year's Christmas break. Who says it's only for kids?
My cousin and I did some nighttime sledding during a snow storm over last year’s Christmas break. Who says it’s only for kids?

5) Hot Yoga:

Sure, snow is not necessary to participate in hot yoga, but do you really want to be in a 105 degree room for an hour and a half during the summer? I’ve recently gotten into yoga as a workout but haven’t braved the hot yoga studio yet. My sister’s done it a few times and assures me that it’s a great workout and great way to really detox your body through sweat and it sounds like a productive way to spend a chilly winter evening, versus sitting underneath a blanket with a  spiked hot chocolate (which I may or may not be doing at the moment).

Honorable mention goes to The Philadelphia Curling Club, because of its overall ridiculousness. I’m not sure how much exercise you get while curling but if you have a group you could rent out private instruction for around $100 a person (you need 15 people to keep the cost reasonable).  It is an Olympic winter sport!

1 comments on “5 Ideas for Staying in Shape This Winter”

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