Keep up the outdoor exercise

By Shayna Barbash

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Photo by Shayna Barbash.

Running may seem daunting in the winter, but it's a good form of exercise during the holidays. Photo by Shayna Barbash.

With bitter winter temperatures just around the corner, it’s even harder to muster up energy for outdoor exercise. While going to the gym is always an option, it’s a last resort, only for torrential downpour and below zero weather- when being outside is unbearable.  For me, the prospect of working out in a contained area with strangers sweating around me seems like an easy way to catch germs.  Instead, invest in some warm clothes, gear up for the outdoors and enjoy the winter sports. 

With holiday candy tempting you at every turn, maintaining your health becomes harder and harder in the winter.  This, coupled with the cold temperatures, makes it difficult to keep holiday sweets off the hips.  But rather than hitting the gym, bundle up in rain-proof clothes for the brisk winter air.

Although winter exercise clothes can be expensive, shopping at discount stores like RnJ in Bethesda and DSW on Democracy Blvd. keep expenses down.  With a warm pair of tights and lightweight jacket, exercising outside becomes a less daunting task. While full hats are usually too warm once you heat up from exercise, headbands are a good alternative that protect your ears from the cold without trapping too much heat. 

When temperatures drop even further, investing in a warm pair of double-layer gloves is crucial to surviving in the outdoor.  Depending on the intensity of the workout, fleece and layers are necessary for maintaining warmth.  Even for warmer weather, layering is a good idea because you can shed clothes as you get further into your workouts.

As for the best type of winter exercise, running and skiing are some of the best sports.  While walking is a good form of exercise, running burns more calories and keeps you warmer when the temperature reaches single digits.

If you truly cannot face the outdoors, swimming is a nice alternative to exercising outside.  Many local pools are heated in the winter.  While chlorine levels can be uncomfortable in public pools, I find swimming less suffocating than working out in a gym or sports center.

Whether you enjoy winter or not, maintain your fitness over the holiday season.  With continued exercise you can enjoy the delicious food of the holidays without enviously staring at others eating your mom’s seasonal cookies.

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