It’s not too difficult to motivate ourselves to do something physically active when the sun is shining and the temperature is warm. After all, there’s an abundance of outdoor activities from which to choose.
But when the temperatures cool and the rainy days become more frequent, it’s easy to beg off being physically fit.
But Dave Engle, a registered clinical exercise physiologist with EvergreenHealth, reminds us not to use weather as an excuse to skip exercise.
“As we say here, if you’re waiting to do something when it stops raining, it will never get done,” he says. “Instead, people need to view the cooler months as an opportunity to do something other than what they’re used to doing.”
An opportunity to do things such as ice skating or roller skating, for example.
Both are great ways — either on your own or with your family or a group of friends — to get a good cardio workout and tone the legs at the same time.
Both can also aid weight loss if done frequently enough. Recreational ice skating can burn between 250 and 810 calories an hour depending on weight.
Time on the ice or at the roller rink also builds muscle tone.
“You tone your whole legs — everything from the glutes, the outer side of hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower legs,” Dave explains.
He says ice skating and roller skating also work the back and abdominal muscles as you work to maintain your posture and balance.
Rock climbing walls are another great activity, largely because climbing uses the whole body.
Dave says most people feel a strain in the arms when they start out, but all core muscles get used when you learn to use your full weight more effectively.
And, not surprisingly, indoor rock climbing is also good for balance and coordination as climbers must find equilibrium with each step.
Dave does share a word of caution: rock climbing can be hard on the joints for new climbers.
“Rock climbing uses the smallest muscles on the body so it can be hard on the fingers and toes,” he explains.
He encourages new climbers to start with private instruction, something often required at most rock-climbing facilities.
If you’re a skier or a rower, you can continue to exercise in the same way — just inside.
Most gyms are equipped with rowing machines and Nordic Tracks. Rowing machines work several major muscle groups and help develop both the upper and the lower body.
Additionally, they get your heart pumping and lungs working to provide a serious aerobic workout.
And the Nordic Track –- which simulates cross-country skiing –- allows you to glide back and forth with your feet while pulling handles with your hands, engaging both your upper and your lower body as well.
“Both rowing machines and Nordic Tracks work the core muscles, including shoulders, triceps, calves, glutes, hamstrings, and more,” says Dave. “Not only are they great for cardio, but they are weight bearing and non-impact, making them great all-around workouts for the body.”
If the gym isn’t your scene, Dave says you can still stay active in your home.
“Both Nintendo Wii Fit and Xbox Kinect have great workout games that can be done in the comfort of your own home,” he says.
Visit our Healthiest Best Exercise homepage for more great ideas to work activity into your daily routine.