NO Year's Resolutions - Part III
They say good things come in threes and this last installment of No Year's Resolutions is no exception. The first part addressed simple ways to keep the hair, skin and nails healthy through the winter and year; the second part addressed nutrition and balance in 2010; Part III of the series is poised to help you find ways to get exercise, and not just at the gym!
Winter time rolls around and our bodies tell us to slow down and get more food and sleep. Though this may seem natural, it is not necessary or flattering to our waistline or long-term health goals to sit inside and eat all of the time. The cold of winter doesn't mean you need to stay inside - it just means you need good cold weather wear. Though the days get dark earlier, weekends are a perfect time to get up early and head out into the sparkling clean white of winter, to participate in a variety of safe activities that are fun for the whole family and perhaps even your family pet! Cross country skiing is a fully cardiovascular activity that even three year old children can get the hang of in one afternoon. Many areas have free parks with groomed cross country ski trails where you can bring the family, and possibly even bring the dogs to run along behind you. Some ski resorts also have groomed cross country ski trails and equipment for rent. If you have small children, outfit them in warm gear, and you may want to bring a sled and a rope to wrap around your waist to pull them behind you when they get tired. They will probably have a second wind in the few short hours you are out there, and the whole family will appreciate seeing the sun and blue skies in the winter time. Snowblading is a newer sport that is overtaking cross country skiing in popularity and can use the same trails. Basically, it feels like a cross between skiing and rollerblading, but on snow-covered nature trails, and without poles. Snow blades are much shorter than traditional skis.
Snowshoeing is another popular family friendly sport in the snowy regions of the country. If the snow isn't quite so heavy, a good pair of hiking boots in a forest with a thick canopy can be a great tool to get into the outdoors while keeping warm. Geocaching is a popular game of hide and seek that can be fun to hunt for a "treasure" in the woods, and your technologically inclined children will enjoy this activity. Get more information at www.geocaching.com .
Not all winter activity has to take place outdoors. This is, of course, the busiest time of the year for new gym membership applications, and many new member specials are available. The gym generally has the typical free weight room, circuit training area and cardiovascular aerobic machines such as the treadmill and stair stepper. Many gyms are taking it a notch up by adding spin classes and dance studios that offer yoga, Zumba and other fast-paced exciting dances that are easy to pick up. Gyms can also offer more support by providing personal trainers and nutritionists who can customize training programs and lifestyle adjustments for individual needs. Community centers have bonus features like indoor running tracks and swimming pools that allow you to vary your workout and keep you from getting bored. Most gyms and recreation centers are family friendly by offering classes for children to attend and active day care for toddlers. This is the time of the year when everyone makes grandiose resolutions and forgets them by mid February. Don't set yourself up to fail! Pursuing simple lifestyle changes one step at a time for you and your family can lead you through this new year with better habits that keep everyone happy and healthy.