With the New Year right around the corner, it seems natural to reminisce about 2009, look forward to 2010 and, of course, compile the dreaded list of resolutions. When I was 12 years old, my New Year’s resolution was to remember to wear my retainer every night. Another year I resolved to be a better, nicer sister. But now I find myself joining the masses in resolving to, yes, “get in shape.”
I belong to a gym which I use every so often. I eat pretty well and I’m lucky to have a decent metabolism. But when I ended up panting and sweating from climbing four flights of stairs up to my office the day the elevators broke down, I decided it was time to improve my fitness. And why not tack that on to the list of things I’ll improve in 2010?
The major challenge of living in Illinois and staying in shape is obviously the sheer lack of motivation one has to exercise during cold, winter months. Frankly, I’d much rather come home from work, throw on sweats and lay on my couch watching recorded episodes of The Good Wife and Keeping up with the Kardashians. (Please don’t judge me.) But of course, in an attempt to stick to my New Year’s resolution, I’ve decided to brainstorm 10 fun and inexpensive ways to work out in winter. I’ll call it…W.O.W. (Also because that’s the reaction I’m hoping to get from people once I actually honor this resolution.)
- Cross-country skiing – If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it. It’s fun, it’s outdoors and it also burns about 500 calories per hour. This website offers information on a variety of locations in Illinois to cross-country ski.
- Downhill skiing – Chestnut Mountain in Galena, IL, offers 19 trails that span 220 acres with a vertical drop of 475 feet. Downhill skiing burns about 400 calories per hour.
- Ice skating – Don’t worry if you haven’t put on skates in a long time. Falling is part of the fun. Also burns about 400 calories per hour. Through March 14, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park offers free skating in a beautiful setting with spectacular views of the city. (Skate rental is $10.) Check out your local park district for rinks in your area – they often offer family skate hours and discounted rates for kids.
- Ice climbing – I thought it sounded crazy, but it’s similar to rock climbing. This website provides information on places in IL to ice climb, including the beautiful Starved Rock.
- Power walk up and down the Mag Mile – Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile while exercising at the same time. Be sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting a little wet!
- Play in the snow – Build a fort, make a snow angel, build a snowman, start a snowball fight, or go sledding. The best way to enjoy winter weather!
- Chicago Sport and Social – This club offers leagues, classes, and clubs year-round for Chicagoans to get together, play sports, and socialize. From broomball to rock climbing to bowling – they have it all.
- Wii – One coworker suggested playing Wii as a workout alternative in winter, especially Dance Dance Revolution. I’ve played DDR a few times and it’s a blast. It also works up a serious sweat.
- Make use of your surroundings – Run up and down the stairs in your apartment, house, office, or local shopping mall.
- Join a gym – The most obvious way to stay in shape during the months of December through March. Unoriginal I know, but simple, cheap (depending on the gym), and effective. I try and attend some group fitness classes to break up the monotony of the treadmill.
Feel free to drop a comment with your suggestions. How do you stay fit in the winter months? And what are your New Year’s resolutions?
– Claire Prendergast