As I’m writing this, it’s a sunny winter day and right around 50 degrees outside my window. A couple of weeks ago, though, it was -25 degrees one morning! Welcome to winter in Colorado. The state of Colorado has a bit of a reputation for extremes – extreme sports, extreme mountains, extreme beauty, and extreme weather, with good reason. During the course of a day hiking in the mountains, I have experienced warm sunshine, rain, hail and, by the time we got to the top, snow!
Winter has hit hard for a lot of us this year. One thing I hear a lot from clients is their difficulty keeping up with their exercise routines in the winter, particularly if they are used to working out outdoors. It can also be hard to get back into a routine when warm weather hits, once you’ve gotten out of the habit. I’m not crazy about going out for a run in sub-zero weather myself, and there are actually lots of options for colder weather workouts. Here are a few:

• After one particularly harrowing morning when, dressed in approximately 5 layers of clothing and a face mask, I slipped and slid down the street trying to run, the light bulb went on for me. I had contemplated the idea of getting a treadmill for those days when it was feeling too dicey to get out but this was the day the decision was made. I wasn’t having any fun, jogging was a challenge, and probably dangerous to boot. By the next week, I was the proud owner of a brand-new treadmill and enjoying my workouts overlooking the snowy scene before me in the comfort of my nice (warm!) basement. I’ve had one ever since, and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made.

If running or walking isn’t your thing, that’s ok. There’s a wide variety of aerobic exercise equipment available these days, at a range of price points. Try checking out an elliptical machine, a recumbent bicycle, or even a rowing machine. All of these offer an excellent cardio workout. Some companies even offer these types of equipment for lease with an option to purchase.

• Gyms and recreation centers offer a variety of cardio equipment. You can set up a seasonal membership and head back outside when it warms up.

• There are all sorts of fitness and aerobic workout classes out there these days. Classes are often included in a gym membership or offered at a nominal charge. There are also fitness centers and studios that offer classes. Try spin, Zumba, barre, or cardio kickboxing, to name just a few possibilities.

• If time or weather is an issue, workout DVD’s are another great option, and you can also find online fitness classes. There is something for everyone, at any fitness level, with any fitness goal. Try yoga, Pilates, circuit training, dance – the list is endless.

By now, you’re starting to get my point. There’s really no reason (excuse?) for you to get off track with your workout schedule during the winter months. (I didn’t even begin to go into outdoor options such as cross-county skiing or snowshoeing. Keyword – layers!) Staying fit and healthy is too important for every aspect of your life not to keep it up all year long.

Coach’s action step: We still have some winter to go and exercise, with its mood-boosting and stress-reducing components, is a great way to shake the February doldrums. Try one of the suggestions here, or create something of your own. Just keep at it. By the time spring comes, you won’t have to play catchup.