Friday, January 21, 2011

Low Cost Ways to Mix Up Your Fitness Routine

Winter can really put a damper on even the best workout efforts, especially if you live in a cold area.

The Long Straight Road(Source)

The chilly temperatures and the short days just make you want to curl up on your sofa with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book. And while that may be a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, if you do it every day all winter long, come spring race season, you're going to have a big fitness hill to climb to get back in your best shape.

So how can you battle the winter blues and maintain a strong fitness base?

Try something new!

Winter is a great time to cut back on your running mileage and mix things up with some cross-training.

Here are some ideas for mixing it up:

Check out a new class at a gym:
A lot of gyms offer a free trial period usually lasting a couple days up to an entire week. Take advantage of the free pass to try some different classes. Experiment with spin or yoga or kickboxing. Step outside your fitness norm and try a class you never would have done before.

Try an outdoor sport:
If you're stuck with a few months of cold weather you may as well make the most of it. Hit the slopes and try snowboarding or skiing or grab some friends and head to the ice skating rink. Or for a cheaper alternative, grab a sled and find a hill. If you're worried about lack of coordination or getting hurt from falling, stick to something safer and build a snowman with your kids or shovel the snow. You'll get the benefits of being outside in the fresh air and you'll be moving. It's a win-win.

Pop in a new DVD:
Workout DVDs are a really low-cost way to mix up your routine. You can find tons of different options on Amazon, but you can also check what's available for rent at your local library. If you find a couple that sound interesting give them a try. I'm a big fan of strength training DVDs mainly because I've yet to find a cardio-based DVD that gave me a decent workout.

Check the Groupon and Living Social deals for your city:
These two group buying sites offer tons of relatively cheap fitness opportunities. In the D.C. area I've seen the opportunity to try boot camp classes, Bikram yoga, a two-month gym membership, salsa dancing and tons more. If you're looking for a way to mix up your routine this is a really easy way to do it. It's low-cost and doesn't require any sort of long term commitment to a certain gym or a certain activity.

How do you keep your routine fresh in the winter?

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