Exercising in Winter, or “How to Not Gain 20 Pounds Because It’s Cold Outside”

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GeD’11

Just as it seemed I was back on the exercise wagon…it got really stinkin’ cold.

Now, I realize one’s definition of “cold” depends upon where you grew up, how extensive your winter wardrobe is, and whether or not you are a man. But I think it’s COLD! And more relevant to this blog post, I think it’s too cold to exercise outside after dark.

Rather than do what I did the last two winters (hibernate, eat sweets, and gain weight) ,I committed to finding ways to be healthy that work with my budget and lifestyle. Thus I immediately crossed off “run at 6 AM” and “join a gym for $65 a month.”

I have found a few things that help to keep me headed to the gym, even on winter days like we’ve had recently.

TIP 1: Set a long term exercise goal. To keep me motivated, I set a goal to run the Broad Street 10 miler or a half-marathon in the spring. I’m goal-oriented so this helps me stay motivated on days when I’d rather go straight to bed after work (every day).

TIP 2:  Commit to manageable, realistic exercise goals. I know that if I promise myself I’ll exercise every single day, I will soon run out of steam. I do know that I can swing three days a week; even if that means walking to work once, doing a short exercise video at home, or biking on the weekends. If I keep the exercise goals within limits, chances are that I won’t burn out or disappoint myself, and I might even exercise more than four times a week.

TIP 3: Join a gym.  For budget-conscious Penn students and staff (like me) consider joining the Fox Fitness Center. For staff, it’s $180 for the year (versus $378 for Pottruck); this prices out to be about $15 a month–a huge steal!  Though Fox Fitness Center does not  have a pool or locker rooms, it does offer exercise machines and free weights. Best of all, it’s never crowded. Check it out here.

TIP 4: Look for fitness deals. I started scouring the daily coupons sites LivingSocial.com and Groupon.com for discounted gym or yoga classes. I love yoga, but $18 per class is above my budget level. With coupons, I’ve taken excellent yoga classes for as low as $10. And that allows me to do things like…

…Purchasing these new work-out shoes, shown here against the backdrop of the autumnal view of Locust Walk.

I will not be posting before and after photos of my physique, but let’s just say,  I’m cautiously optimistic about my chances of exercising three days a week this winter.   You should join me!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Athletics, Lillian G.

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