The leaves have fallen from the trees, you’ve started bundling up and the dead of winter is just around the corner. If you live in an area that is warm and sunny yearlong, you may feel empowered to stay active outdoors throughout the whole year, but for the rest of us, cold weather can be a deterrent to our fitness routine. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we should retire to the den and work on building up an extra layer of winter bulk. There are several ways to continue to stay active, even when the temperature drops outside.

 

Break It Up

In the warm months, we can easily get lost in hour-long hikes or afternoon games of Frisbee, but exercise can feel more like a chore when you are cooped up inside. If that is the case, try raising your heart rate in spurts. Five five-minute bursts of exercise have the same benefits as 25 minutes of sustained activity. While you are waiting for the water to boil, do some jumping jacks. See how many pushups you can knock out before the commercial break ends, or send your cleaning chores into overdrive by challenging yourself to complete them more quickly and vigorously. Set a timer and you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes of high-powered cleaning.

Embrace the Chill

Sure, the weather may look daunting when sitting in the comfort of your warm house, but once you raise your heart rate outside, the cold air is hardly noticeable. Snowball fights and ice-skating aren’t just for kids and sledding can rival any formal workout if you can run back up the hill quickly enough. Even a quiet walk can be transformed when the snow is falling at night and the world gets quiet. Lace up your winter boots or try renting a pair of snow shoes to see what you can explore while the snow is falling.

Find a Deal

Sometimes cabin fever in the winter means we have to find any excuse to get out of the house. You may not want to commit to annual gym fees, especially if you manage to stay active when it is warmer outside, but with some creativity, you can avoid getting sucked in to yearlong commitment at big-box gyms. Local recreation centers often boast state-of-the-art equipment while offering punch card packs or drop-in rates for the casual user. Stop in when you want to, and skip the obligation to pay once the weather warms up. Boutique gyms are also all the rage right now. Check out your local daily deals to find a steal on a yoga, spinning or boot camp classes that you can use when you just have to get out of the house.

By staying active during the winter months you can maintain your level of health and fitness throughout the year and maybe even discover a few new fitness habits to maintain all year long.

image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbie1/2210315713/