Cardio in the Winter

by Joe Lawrence | December 26th, 2013 | Cardio, Outdoor

skiing (2)Winter is here and so is the cold for most of us. Sadly, for those of us who like to run are not able to get the same enjoyment with ice and snow. There are some other things that can be done to during these months to keep the heart healthy and burn off those Christmas cookies.

Growing up in the north east, the weather is almost never nice enough to “enjoy” the outdoors. By Halloween each year we were in coats until March and this created little enjoyment in outdoor workouts. People went to ftiness centers and etc. I remember after my dad had heart surgery he needed to walk a lot for rehab. The cold was too much and he saw mall walking as the next best option. As a twelve year old, I could not comprehend how all these people were actually getting a workout in. I had some misinformation that I want to clear up before getting into an exercise. Myth one was that only running, jumping rope, or anything else seen in Rocky qualified as cardio. This is not true as anything that gets the blood pumping and your breathing escalated qualifies. Myth two was that I had to work out for at least 30 minutes to make it count. Although this is the optimal timeframe, there is no set time as the heart and lungs benefit from any little bit you can offer.

To keep the heart pumping blood in the winter, I recommend embracing the winter sports. If you live close to a ski area, take a day or weekend and hit the slopes. This can  be an exhilirating workout and a nice break from reality.

No slopes? How about a hike around a scenic part of town. Lakes, forests, and parks are all great places to go for a peaceful stroll. And if it has recently snowed, it feels like you are walking inside of a painting.

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to run as fast as I could through the freshly plowed snow piles on the edges of the street. High stepping through these made me feel like I was conquering General.

Lastly, another idea for cardio is to get together with your pals. Play some sports outdoors and enjoy the motivation of competition. Football season is here and it is great to spend the morning or midday playing with the old pigskin. Tackle football adds a whole new dimension to the workout, but you can even make a round of flag football pretty challenging. To make it even more interesting put a buy back on the flags after someone loses one. I like to charge push ups, sit ups, or some other exercise as the fee. By the time you are doing your eighth round of push ups, you are motivated to juke your butt off to avoid losing another.

Do not let the winter weaken the heart, get out and get moving even for a few minutes at a time.

(Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero)

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.