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Winter workouts: Staying fit during the pandemic

ZOE CARR

The pandemic adds another layer to the challenge to keep fit. Many of us have relied on gym memberships to stay active, but fitness centers have been closed or operating at limited capacity. On top of that, many of us might not feel comfortable working out in a gym during the pandemic.

While hibernating for the winter may sound appealing, to return to the things we love in the warmer months without any physical setbacks, it’s important that we keep ourselves healthy and strong during colder months. The good news is, there are plenty of fun ways to keep your cardiovascular and strength fitness routines on track, even in chillier seasons.

TAKE IT

OUTSIDE

If you love walking, you can still take walks outdoors if you prepare for facing the cold. Make sure to account for the wind chill factor before heading out-the thermometer may not accurately reflect how the frigid air will feel on your skin. Always dress in layers, and consider investing in a windbreaker-type jacket that will help keep the air away from your skin. Bright, reflective colors are also important for outdoor activities, allowing you to be seen in rainy and cloudy weather.

AN INSIDE JOB

If braving the elements isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for alternative workouts for the most bitter of days, there are plenty of exercises you can do indoors at home.

If you’ve invested in equipment in the past like a treadmill, mini trampoline, or stationery bike, put it to use! A 30-minute workout while distracted by your favorite TV show or music can pass surprisingly quickly!

Throughout the pandemic, many gyms and studios have made online workouts available through various outlets. These are a great resource for trying something new in the comfort of your own living room! These classes usually don’t require any special equipment for a great workout. For example, yoga is a great way to build flexibility, strength, and balance in a smaller space. Yoga also provides the opportunity to take some deep breaths and calm your body and mind.

Another option is to do circuit-style training, which is designed to keep your heart rate elevated while working all the major muscle groups. The best part about doing circuits is that you can vary them each day. They also don’t require a lot of equipment and you can get both resistance and cardiovascular training done in a short period of time.

An example circuit might include lunges to get the heart rate up, followed by an upper body exercise like wall pushups, and then a core exercise like side bends to finish up. Start with what you can do where you are in your fitness journey. Once you get the hang of it, feel free to get more creative with the exercises and don’t be afraid to try new movements and add them into your routine.

You can vary these types of activities; always listening to what your body is telling you. Rest if you need it, move when you need to. Just remember that staying consistently active is what matters most, and spring will be here before we know it!

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Zoe Carr is a personal trainer at Mount Nittany Health Fit for Play.

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