A few tips about winter exercise
It’s no secret that Boulder is a beacon of outdoor activity during the summer and spring months. With so many ultimate Frisbee games and a dizzying network of paved and unpaved bike paths to be had, it’s easy to see why Boulder was named one of Outside Magazine’s “Best Outside Town of 2006” as a seemingly perfect marriage of liberalism and the rugged outdoors.
However, the winter snow can drive back even the most committed of fitness gurus, and in between classes and a social life, students can have an especially hard time staying in shape. If you find yourself spending too much time curled up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate when the flurries are flying, here are a few tips for maintaining a healthy fitness level until the snow melts.
Remember, the snow can be fun.
Bombing down a mountain on skis or a snowboard isn’t for everyone. In addition to the rising cost of a lift ticket, both renting and buying ski equipment can be very expensive. For those less-risky individuals, there are several ways to safely and inexpensively enjoy the snow right here in Boulder.
- Sledding is a great way to exercise without even knowing it, and by the end of the day, your legs will be feeling those repeated trips up and down the hill. A top-of-the-line sled or inner tube is no more than $30, and most are less than $20.
Boulder’s best sled spot: Scott Carpenter Park on 30th and Arapahoe Streets
- Cross-country skis and snowshoes are wonderful ways to hike Boulder’s mountain trails or venture to the nearest park for some fun. The workout that your legs and back will get in the process isn’t bad, either. Many of the same shops that rent skis also rent cross-county skis and snowshoes at a fraction of the cost.
Boulder’s best cross-country and snowshoe areas: the cross-country track at North Boulder Park at 9th and Dellwood Avenues; Chautauqua Park
Recreation centers are there for a reason
Winter snow is simply a fact of life in Colorado, but for anyone who isn’t excited about the prospect of going outside, there are indoor options available as well.
A pass to the CU Recreation Center is built into the student fees, so why not use it? There are several activities available to try out. From weight-lifting to Japanese fencing, there is something to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
- For people who need flexibility in their workout schedules, the recreation center offers drop-in classes in aerobics, indoor cycling and master’s swim. The fee is $3 per class and the schedule can be viewed at www.colorado.edu/rec-center.
- Some people find the CU Recreation Center ill-suited to their needs, so there are three recreation centers around Boulder run by the city: East Boulder Community Center at 5660 Sioux Dr., North Boulder Recreation Center at 3170 Broadway St., and South Boulder Recreation Center at 1360 Gillaspie Rd. To see a full list of each center’s offerings, go to:
City of Boulder Recreation Centers
With an Olympic-sized swimming pool, racquetball courts, weight rooms, an ice rink and an indoor rock climbing wall (just to name a few) the recreation center has a monumental variety in intramural sports and class offerings. Some of the most interesting activities offered for spring semester are belly dancing, Shao-lin Kung Fu and On The Ball, an exercise ball-oriented class.
Incorporating fitness as a lifestyle
If you find going to the gym to be sweaty and unpleasant, there are also ways to incorporate healthy living into your daily habitats. Did you know you can get exercise while working at your computer?
- Invest in an exercise ball to sit on while working at your computer. The ball’s bounciness will encourage you to keep moving, which will burn calories, contribute to cardiovascular health and works out your abdominal and gluteal muscles. Just remember to keep your back straight.
- While sitting, push your feet up onto the balls of your feet and stretch your calves. Repeat this until your legs are tired, and then keep repeating this motion every 10 minutes. This stimulates blood flow to your feet, which is important in preventing clots while sitting.
- Every 30 minutes or so, get up and stretch your arms, neck, back and legs. Not only will this stimulate blood flow throughout the body and give you a feeling of rejuvenation, but it will also gives your eyes a chance to rest as well.
These final tips probably aren’t the fat-burning, sweat-pouring workouts you are accustomed to, but incorporating them into your daily habits, be it working at the computer, watching television, or talking on the phone, will make for a nice tandem to any traditional exercises that you do, as well as increase your overall health.
Now get out there (or stay inside) and fight those winter blues.