It's the day after Draco: the first winter storm of the season. Draco dumped about 12" of snow, followed by winds gusting to 45mph (I think they may have been higher by the sounds of my creaking house), and blizzardlike conditions in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. Today, however, it's just plain cold outside, 14 degrees. And it's beautiful. And it's sunny. And there's minimal wind. Conditions are perfect to get outside and get in a workout.
With winter conditions, you have to dress right. First rule is to stay dry, inside and out. Nothing will chill you faster than wet clothes and gloves. A dry outer layer (snowpants or goretex pants) are a necessary layer and help protect against the wind too. But layer appropriately, because if you OVER layer, you'll sweat up a storm, and that could chill you as well. Opt for moisture wicking layers. Cover your head, and your face (I love my head scarfs) as most heat leaves your body through your head. Watch the fingers and toes and stay out only as long as you are dressed appropriately. My rule of thumb is that for every 15 degree drop in temperature, add an extra layer on top. Keep your core warm.
Now that you're ready for the outside, what can you do for a workout?
Walk-hike: Safety precautions first...if there's icy conditions, use something like YakTrax to prevent slips and falls. However, in the snow - go for it! Walking in deep snow is HARD! It works your hip flexor muscles (top of the thigh at hip level), your butt and your quads.
Poles: Grab a set of poles (or a couple of walking sticks) and use those upper arms (phew, my arms feel it today from snow shoeing yesterday with poles).
Snowshoe: Get some 'shoes and walk on top of the snow. It's so fun. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's just like walking on big shoes. Great workout for the glutes, butt, legs and arms, if you use poles. It's my favorite winter activity! (Locally, rent at Fever River Outfitters, downtown Galena, IL)
Cross Country Ski: Awesome total body workout. Google around for area trails and rentals if you don't own your own equipment.
Downhill Ski: Awesome if you're around a ski resort, although equipment rental and lift tickets could set you back a bit. (locally, check out Chestnut Mountain Resort).
Basically, if you want a real free workout today - just get outside and enjoy, whether you have 12" of snow, or sunshine and warmth!
Living 365fitt Outdoors,