When winter comes about in Ohio, it’s hard to find the energy to go outside and face the cold weather. You are tired from class, beat up from work, and just downright exhausted from all your other responsibilities; trust me, I get it.
While your excuse for not being thrilled about working out in the cold weather is justified, you might find yourself adding a few pounds during the winter months when you spend your free time binging Netflix and munching on snacks.
So let’s break this cycle in 2018.
There’s no reason to let the winter season ruin outdoor fitness. Exercise is good for everyone, regardless of intensity and duration, and spending time outdoors has linked positive benefits on mental health and mood. Combined with the endorphins released from exercise, outdoor fitness is great way to improve both your mind and body.
Whether you’re someone who just needs a little motivation to brave the cold and continue your outdoor fitness routine or looking to start a fitness routine for the first time, now is a great time to break out your coat and running shoes. Emphasis on coats too, guys. If you think running in the cold is hard, try running in the cold with the flu!
The winter sports that first come to mind for most people are skiing and snowboarding. They’re also a great way to switch up your fitness routine during the winter, as it’s the only time of year they’re accessible in Ohio.
While Ohio doesn’t have much by way of mountains, Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield, Ohio is just an hour away and offers a student discount on Fridays. Their gentle slopes are perfect for learning, and more seasoned purveyors of the sports can get in a full day of practice without having to go too far. Anyone who has tried snowboarding for the first time can tell you the soreness that ensues the following day, meaning muscles have been working hard and could probably use some rest. And when we say rest, you know what that means: slowly transforming into a potato as you re-watch the second season of “Stranger Things.”
Ohio State has its own indoor skating rink, but for those looking for a more authentic outdoor experience the Columbus Blue Jackets Winter Park ice skating rink will be open from Feb. 2 to Feb. 22. Additionally, several Columbus Metro Parks and Ohio State Parks offer skating ponds that will be open to the public when the ice freezes to a certain thickness. Not only is this a great way to get up and get moving, it’s a perfect place for dates! If you are feeling a little adventurous, many of the Chiller Ice Rink locations throughout the city offer times to practice your craft at a very reasonable cost.
Winter can be one of the most serene times of the year for hiking. Trails are more clear, the trees have shed their leaves and taken on snowy blankets. To avoid the winter chill, it’s important to have the right clothing. A down or synthetic down coat is a great outer layer, and long sleeve polyester tops provide good insulation. Wool or synthetic socks are a must (anything but cotton), and a good pair of boots can help keep your toes from going numb. Bring along something warm to drink, like coffee or tea, in a travel mug along with the normal amount of water you would need for a hike.
Many bikers don’t let a little snow keep them from getting on the road, but if you’re not a biker or are hesitant to face the cold air while on a bike, there are still ways the sport is accessible in the wintertime without having to succumb to the painful monotony of stationary bicycles in the RPAC.
Like any outdoor activity in the winter, wearing the right clothing is crucial. Wear warm base layers and an insulating outer layer. However, you shouldn’t wear too many layers, as you will warm up throughout your ride. Additionally, a scarf or a gaiter is helpful for keeping the wind from biting too hard on your face, which can be distracting and painful.
Bike maintenance is also important, as the colder temperatures and the extra mud and slush on the road can have an effect on tires and paint. The salt on the road is also damaging on your bike’s metal mechanisms, so make sure to wipe them down after a ride to avoid rusting. Clean your bike after rides and keep a close eye on your bike’s components to stay safe on the road.
When thinking about winter activities, running might be one of the least desirable for most people. It can be hard enough to drag yourself outside to walk somewhere, but run? While it may seem like a miserable experience, winter running is an awesome way to enjoy the outdoors and get that much needed vitamin D. Clothing choice is important, and like biking you should start off cold because you will get warmer as you run. And it doesn’t matter how tough you think you are, wear some gloves so your hands don’t freeze and fall off.