Discover free ways to stay in shape this season
Bringing yourself to exercise regularly is
difficult. Work, family and social commitments get in the way.
You're too tired. It makes you sore just thinking about it. And
during the winter months, there's one additional excuse that often
becomes the deal breaker-it's cold outside!
"Winter is definitely the most challenging time of year to stay
motivated because of the weather and lack of sunlight," says
Gregory Florez, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.
But as we get older, it's more important than ever to keep the
momentum going. "We lose fitness fairly quickly as adults. If you
spend the spring, summer and fall months making progress, you'll
lose it if you stop during winter. And that yo-yo effect can slow
A long break can be even more detrimental if you're trying to
build muscle. "Taking even a week off means it will take about
three to four weeks of work to get back to your previous level from
a muscular standpoint," says Dixie Thompson, Ph.D., a fellow of the
American College of Sports Medicine. "That's why it's so important
to be physically active all year long."
The good news is that you don't need to brave the cold or spend
a dime on equipment to get a good workout. Here's how:
Turn on the TV
Sound counterproductive? It's not-as long as you tune in to the
right channel. "Lots of cable channels show workout programs," says
C. David Geier Jr., M.D., a spokesman for the American Orthopaedic
Society for Sports Medicine. "Or, look for free videos on the
Looking for something specific? Try your local library. If you
belong to a DVD subscription service like Netflix, add workout
programs to your queue and they'll be delivered to your home.
Use Your Body Weight
You don't need anything more than your body to be physically
active. "You just need to get creative and look for options,"
Thompson says. "For resistance training, there are all kinds of
exercises that use your own body weight."
Think back to your days in gym class, Geier suggests. Do
push-ups, sit-ups, lunges and jumping jacks and jog in place.
Employ Household Props
If you want a boost without buying any equipment, look around
your house. "Do squats with your back against the wall or incline
push-ups off a sturdy chair," Geier says.
-By Shelley Flannery