This past weekend we said good-bye to Daylight Savings Time for another year. And with that sorrowful farewell, we are now starting to sense winter's arrival is imminent. With less daylight, plummeting temperatures, and the very real possibility of a snow covered ground, we begin to slowly sink into the all too familiar cold-weather blues. We see our summer evening runs turn into winter evenings bundled in front of the TV. We watch as our taught and toned legs, get heavy from lack of use. We try not to succumb to the hibernation effect that so many of our friends and colleagues become victim. We dream of when we will be met again by the sweet, mild air of spring, when we can head out the door at 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening and still get a good 10k in before the night sky appears above us. We pine for those warm summer mornings when all we need is a pair of shorts and a tank to meet our friends for a long run on the trail.
An admittance must be made, it is quite difficult to embrace the chill of winter, especially being a warm weather loving creature. However, it must be done in order to preserve that incredible physique that was so finely tuned over the spring and summer months. It cannot be that we give in so easily to the dreariness of winter as that only leads to soft, sagging, droopy bodies. Why work so hard, so diligently, so intensely, only to let it all go because of biting winds and falling snow? Inactivity is not the answer.
Winter must be met with a bit of creativity, and a bit of spunk. We must welcome winter with a fighting spirit. Instead of lounging about in slippers and robe in front of the fire on Sunday morning; layer up, get out, go run! There are endless choices when it comes to winter gear for keeping toasty while trying to outrun Jack Frost. Delightful jackets and fleeces that resist the wind and repel moisture. Lovely wool socks that warm the feet and keep them moving in fine fashion. There are heaters for the hands, warmers for the neck, and tights for the legs, all of which chase away the bitter chill of January, February and even gusty March.
For those of us who still cannot bear to bundle up and run the run...there is the ever trusty treadmill or maybe a spin class is in order. How about, meeting a friend or two, or three at the gym and designing a circuit workout to do together. Pull out the jump ropes and free weights, the medicine and Bosu balls; find a flight of stairs or simply set up some cones and do sprints. You can create a workout that is sure to keep your lungs fierce and your muscles at attention.
While the winter months pose challenges for all us, especially in the motivation department, we need to change our outlook, take a whole new approach. Why not think of winter as the ultimate challenge? View it as a time to test our discipline, our perseverance, our will. Not only can we maintain and improve upon our physical prowess during these gray days, but we can build upon our mental strength and power. After all, exercise is not all about the tangible, it goes far beyond the sweat we drip and the soreness we feel. Exercise provides us with a way to free our minds. It allows us to focus on improving ourselves, warranting us to take a bit of "me" time. If we commit to the act of exercising, we make a promise to ourselves. Why make such a promise, only to break it because of the dipping mercury or the abbreviated days. Do we break all promises so easily?
So, do not let the frost or the ice be hindrances. There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to keeping in tip-top shape this winter. Whether choosing to brave the elements outdoors or take our workouts inside, we can keep fit. No ground has to be lost, nor inches accumulated. We can remain lean, even under all of that winter padding. Of course, that winter padding should be put on layer by layer, not bite by bite!