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Cold Weather Workouts

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Updated March 26, 2010

Weather can be the difference between doing your workout or piling up on the couch for your favorite TV show. If it's rainy, snowy or just plain cold outside, most of us avoid exercise like the plague. While it's normal for activity to slow down in the winter, cold weather isn't a license to give up exercise completely. Learn how you can keep up with exercise even when it's cold.

Option 1: Workout Outside

Obviously some people continue outdoor workouts no matter what the weather. If you're one of those people, more power to you. If you're not, getting out occasionally can lift your spirits, even if it's cold outside.

Plan to get outside at least once every couple of weeks or so and make it more comfortable by using these tips for staying warm and dry:

1. Dress in layers. Wearing layers allows you stay warm while giving you the option to remove layers as you get warm. For very cold weather, you might choose clothes with sweat-wicking qualities such as CoolMax.

2. Avoid the wind. Wendy Bumgardner, gives some great tips for cold weather survival in her article, Keep Walking in the Cold. Some tips are to "[s]tart your walk into the wind so you will finish with it at your back." Other things that will make your outside journey better are selecting routes that are "sheltered from the wind where possible" and "that are cleared of snow or ice or do not have standing puddles or mud slicks."

3. Warm up inside. Getting outside in the cold is much easier if you're already warm. Try throwing your clothes in the dryer, running your hands under warm water or even getting a good 10-minute warm up in before you head outside.

If outdoor exercise isn't your thing, try Option 2.

Option 2: Workout at the Gym

If the weather gets nasty, they gym is a great choice for more options and lots of great people-watching...not a bad way to while away your exercise time. Many people hate moving their training indoors when it gets to be too chilly for a morning run, but it doesn't have to be mind-numbing. Take the treadmill, for example. You could hop on the belt, set the speed at 4.0 mph and go for a 30-minute walk to nowhere. Or you can be creative and make your treadmill workout just a little more interesting. Try these cardio workouts for a little inspiration, or why not try a circuit training workout for something completely different? Pick a machine you've never dared to try (yes, that's a rowing machine) and get busy.

Another idea is to try group exercise classes like spinning, step aerobics or kickboxing. Not only will you burn some calories and manage your weight, you might end up having fun. Fitness classes are also a great place to meet other exercisers to help keep you motivated.

A bonus of working out in the gym is having everything at your disposal. Once you're done with your cardio, you can strength train, stretch and even hit the hot tub before you head home.

Next Page: Working Out at Home

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