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Stay Focused on Fitness this Winter

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When you look outside and see the sun setting early, the temperatures dropping quickly, and snow piling up on the ground, the last thing you want to do is throw on your sneakers and go for a run. Yet, as much as you’d like to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa, you know that staying focused on your fitness goals is just as important—maybe even more so—during the winter.

Winter doesn’t mean you should go stagnant on your workout, but it does mean you might have to change things up a bit. Change can be scary, but it can also be wonderful. Taking your workout indoors might seem boring—or even downright depressing at first—but here are a few ways to stay motivated and excited during indoor winter workouts.

Get Into Cross-Training Cross-training is one of the leading ways to build endurance and prevent injury, especially when you are heavily active in one sport or activity. Take running, for example. Runners often have tight hamstrings, stressed knees, and sore feet. Indoor cross-training allows you to continue to work on stamina and endurance without sacrificing miles. You can train on low-impact equipment like an elliptical machine, which can keep your heart rate up while minimizing the year-round impact on your joints and bones.

Try Something New Are you a put-on- your-headphones, hop-on- a-bike, and hit-the- road kind of exercise enthusiast? You might find the freezing (or even subzero temperatures) simply too harsh for your favorite hobby. Instead of letting that freeze out your workout routine, try exploring new activities—creative, fun, and adventurous ways to keep your body in motion. For example, you can keep your cardio up and work on upper-body strength by joining an indoor rock climbing gym. Many of these facilities offer classes and lessons so you can be a casual climber or commit to the experience. You can also take an indoor fitness class at your local gym designed to keep your strength training and cardio goals on track, like Pilates, spin, bootcamp, and body pump.

Gather Your Friends Surrounding yourself with positive people who will hold you accountable for staying fit is a powerful way to stay focused on fitness. When you have to bring your workout indoors for the winter, consider dragging your friends along. Here are a few ideas for staying active and social with indoor activities:

● Play a game of dodgeball at an indoor trampoline park ● Start taking hot yoga classes ● Challenge your workout buddy to a race on an indoor rowing machine ● Sign up for the same spring race and start training together at the gym

Working out with friends is a way to stay focused and motiva

ted when your exercise routine hits a winter slump. The best part is that you can do almost anything with a friend. From working out to online videos in your home before cooking a healthy dinner, to walking around the mall for an afternoon shopping trip, being inside doesn’t have to feel like a chore when you’re with someone you enjoy spending time with.

Making winter fitness a priority not only makes sure you’re still in good physical shape when summer rolls around, but it also can help keep you in good mental shape, too. Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also boosts your positive motivating emotions, too. Part of this is biology—the body is regulating itself during exercise, but it also has to do with seeing and feeling the results of your efforts. Don’t lose those benefits this winter. Stay motivated and stay healthy.

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