Working Out in Cold Weather

Experts recommend plenty of ways to get active in wintertime

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

The weather may be frightful, but don’t let this winter “go to waist.” Area experts recommend plenty of ways to get active and stay fit.

Tips from Randy Sabourin, personal trainer and team leader at Metro Fitness in Fayetteville and Syracuse:

• “Try something new. I just recently got a fat tire bike. It’s like a mountain bike you can ride in the sand or snow. It’s a tough workout.

• “I run and walk outside, but layering is key to make sure you won’t get hyperthermia. If you are nervous about vehicles sliding into you, try Onondaga Lake Park. I go there all the time. I use Yaktrax that slip onto my sneakers to I won’t fall. Especially if you are walking/running at night, get a headlamp, which can be purchased at sporting goods stores, and a reflective vest. If you’re walking a dog, get a reflective dog vest.

• “If you do belong to a gym, use your time inside to find a new class you haven’t tried before. Mix it up. There might be a class on the schedule you might stick your nose up at, but give it a shot. It helps avoid overuse injury. Something new refreshes and excites you.”

Tips from Joseph Jones, health and fitness coordinator with a bachelor’s in exercise and sports science and certified personal trainer at Greater Syracuse YMCA:

• “One of the best things I recommend at home is a routine to do in the morning. While I wait for the coffee to brew, I do some alternating lunges or squats with an alternating kick. I also have watched the morning news and hold a plank during the commercial break. Use those times while you’re doing a mundane task and functionally multi-task.

• “For a lot of people who love to run outside in a group, they can take advantage of trying new exercise classes and trying out some new things. It’s a sense of reliability and camaraderie. All winter, as testament to that, I took over a Friday group exercise class, Circuit Blast, and I made it a partner-based class. I have grown it in 12 weeks from four to 20. Incorporate more social-based activities. It’s cold out and you come to the treadmill over and over brings nothing new to the table without external challenges around.”

Tips from physician Joanne Wu, board-certified integrative and holistic medicine and rehabilitation doctor, who sees patients in Syracuse and elsewhere in Upstate:

• “I’m a big outdoorsy person, so I always coach people about getting outside. If it is a nice day, I tell people to ski, take hikes and snowshoe.

• “Ice skating is somewhat accessible.

• “Curling is something I talk with people about. Some are shy about it, but it’s a winter sport. You don’t have to be out in the elements-you can do it in an indoor ice skating rink-but it is a winter sport and it gets people active and together.

• “But if there’s a blizzard, you can stay active without going out. Indoors, try new things I don’t normally do when the weather is nice. Look up things exciting things like maybe rock climbing or indoor volleyball that are one-off of what you’d normally do.

• “Try indoor leagues for soccer.”

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