It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! Even though my winter in Chicago was insanely mild this year, I still am just as excited about spring’s arrival as I was when we experienced the Polar Vortex. Even if you didn’t get dumped on with snow this winter, it’s not exactly enticing to do anything outdoors in 40 degree rain or overcast skies.
At this point in the year, you’re likely getting that cabin fever feeling of a gym rut routine. Here are some tips to mix up your stale winter workouts and breathe some fresh spring air into your routine!
Go Longer, Instead of Harder
If you’re stuck inside on the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike, I always recommend HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to mix up the monotony. Plus, you can get a tough workout in much less time, ideal for seemingly shorter days and when there’s a line for the cardio equipment.
However, when it doesn’t hurt your face to step outside, spending more time exercising can actually be enticing! Of course, this calls for a reduction of effort so you’re able to get through an hour or more.
Long power walks are a favorite of mine once the temps are well into the 50s and the extra time in the sun boosts my mood as much as any endorphins I get from the exercise itself.
If you run, ditch a day normally dedicated to short intervals in favor of a steady state scenic route and let your mind wander as much as your feet. Another option is trading a spin class in for a long bike ride.
Back to that sunshine. The decrease of sun rays effect your melatonin and serotonin levels, both of which directly impact your mood. So imagine how you’ll feel boosting your endorphins while enhancing these natural mood boosting chemicals. We already covered the basics, long runs, walks, and bike rides around town, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there!
Many gyms, athletic stores, and community centers sponsor free outdoor workouts in the spring and summer months. Run groups, yoga in the park, and outdoor bootcamps are often free or a packaged deal so take advantage of what’s in your community! Try them out with friends, or make new ones by attending regular meet-ups.
Commute This Way
Knocking out your commute and exercise at the same time is a big win-win, and much easier to do with more daylight hours and less ice and slush. If you can run, walk, or bike to work, consider yourself super lucky and take advantage! You may not be able to do it every day, but you at least have a clear option 5 days a week making it easy to create a habit.
If you have a 15+ mile or highway dominated trek, it’s not hopeless. Consider all of the common errands you run in a typical week. Can you run to the grocery and take an Uber home? How about going to the amazing local coffee shop a mile away instead of the so-so chain at the end of your street? Bike with your spouse to your favorite brunch spot instead of hopping in the car, or pick a spot equidistant from your bestie so you can both walk to meet up.
How do you exercise differently in the milder months? What are you most sick of about winter workouts?