Winter Fitness

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Without a gym membership, some feel lost when it comes to staying in shape through the winter. With a little creativity and basic equipment, it’s not hard, and can even be fun, to stay in shape all winter long.

Here are some ideas to keep fit outside the gym this season.

1. Stairs
Running or walking up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building can be a great high intensity cardio and leg workout. One option for those starting out is to add walking intervals every few floors. For example, leave the stairwell and walk the length of the hallway and back before resuming your ascent.

Take it up a notch: Try climbing two steps at a time, sprinting a few flights or doing jumping jacks between floors to raise the intensity.

2. Ice Skating
This is a great aerobic workout that can be done free of charge in some arenas.

Take it up a notch: If triple axels are not your thing, you can still pick up the pace to get your heart pumping. Skating backwards or roller blading can also work your muscles in different ways. If you have 10 or 20 meters to yourself, try this:

• Skate as fast as you can for 10 meters; Come to a complete stop and touch the ice with your hand.

• Immediately sprint back to the starting spot and touch the ice again. Do this for one minute, three times.

• Skate leisurely for one-two minutes between sets to catch your breath. As you get better, try going for longer periods, change your distance, or reduce your rest time.

3. Indoor Sports
Join a team or individual sports program. The most cost effective programs are usually run by local organizations where gym space at a local school or community center is secured and people drop in for a game of basketball, floor hockey or other team sports.

Take it up a notch: If you have the time, combine more than one workout each day. Try a yoga class right after pick-up basketball or Zumba in the morning and volleyball at night.

4. Mall Walking
When walking outdoors is not an option, do laps inside your local shopping mall. For the average person, a brisk one-hour walk can burn 300 to 400 calories.

Take it up a notch: If there are multiple levels in the mall, climb stairs or walk up escalators to challenge your leg muscles and burn extra calories.

5. Home Workouts
Explore You Tube to find the best Free Fitness You Tube Channels. You’ll run across indoor aerobic routines that pay off when space is limited. If you have weights, resistance bands, a skipping rope, a stability ball, trampoline, or other equipment, you can incorporate those into a great full body workout.

Take it up a notch: Experiment with mixing and matching workouts. For the best fat-burning workouts, mix some resistance training with some high intensity cardio. In 20 or 30 minutes you could easily burn more calories than you would on a treadmill at the gym.

6. Dancing
For more fun and less structure, turn up the volume on some of your favorite songs and dance. Dance to your two favorite current songs and three you haven’t heard since “back in the day” and you’ve got a 20-minute workout while dinner is on the stove.

Take it up a notch: Try doing pushups, dips, jumping jacks or burpees during the choruses.

7. Active TV Viewing
Don’t want to miss your favorite show? Try jogging or skipping while you watch.

Take it up a notch: Do squats, push-ups, or burpees during the commercial breaks.

Use these tips to keep fit outside the gym and emerge next spring with the beach-ready body you’ve always wanted!

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