Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's keep going, I know it's cold and you'd rather just do what you want

It was not a good week for the MWC participants. Even though there was a challenge posted last week to lose ten more pounds, collectively, and reach 100 pounds lost, we instead gained weight! 2.2 pounds, to be exact. The biggest loser was me, with a measly .2 pounds lost. OUCH!

I keep thinking about wearing a swimsuit. To increase the motivation to lose, I'm going to go to a department store in the next week and try on some Spring fashions. The thought makes me sad because I want to lose so much more and I know I won't feel as good as I had hoped to feel.

My problem is that I feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to fit in exercising. It's also cold. If you're having a hard time exercising because of the cold weather, here are some tips for getting the blood pumping. Window shopping and people watching? What a great combination to keep you entertained while exercising!
Taking Your Walk Indoors

Daily exercise is a habit, which can slip-slide away as temperatures dip and snow or ice cover sidewalks and footpaths. What's the committed walker to do?

Mall Walk
Many people live close enough to a shopping mall to take advantage of those safe, well-lit open spaces during inclement weather. And plenty of malls open their doors early so that people can walk at a good pace without having to navigate around shoppers.
The pros of mall walking are abundant:

They're well lit and have a temperature-controlled environment, with no cars or dogs to dodge. You can wear headphones without worrying about thugs, dogs, cars or tripping over sidewalks or curbs.

Bathrooms and water fountains are nearby, and there's plenty of parking.

There are other walkers, and some malls even have incentive programs.

Mall window displays provide interest and distraction.

Admittedly, however, mall walking may have a downside. The walkers in malls appear to mainly be silver-haired seniors, which is great if you are one. But if you're far from silver, don't let the age gap stop you.

"Bring a friend your own age," says Sara Donovan, creator of the Mall of America walking program. "Mall walking is for anyone committed to walking despite the weather. You can get a great workout. Run up the stairs or escalator to bump up your heart rate, and race walk on the smoothest surface you'll ever find."

Indoor Tracks
Check to see if your local YMCA, high school or college gym has an indoor track you can use. Sometimes the tracks are balconies that encircle exercise areas, squash or basketball courts, so you have a bird's-eye view of people working out.

The same pros as mall walking apply; in addition:

You're close to other workout opportunities.

You may be able to shower afterwards and store belongings in a locker.

Social Network
You'll probably see a more diverse population than at the mall.

If the track is rubberized or has a more forgiving surface than the mall, it may be easier on your feet and back.

Some cons include:

* It may be harder to walk and talk with a buddy. Ambient noise can make it hard to hear each other, and walking side by side may block runners who want to pass.
* You may feel a bit dizzy going round and round if the track is small.
* The track may be slanted. If so, be sure you turn around and go in the opposite direction every other lap, to avoid injury to muscles or tendons.

Local Large Buildings
Find out if you can get access to a large public building, like a high school, where you can walk the halls and stairwells after hours. (You might have to go to a school board meeting with a group of interested friends and neighbors to see if the school will allow this activity.)

If you have access to a building with several stories, try going up one flight of stairs, walking around that floor, then the next flight of stairs, etc. Alternating stair climbing with walking will be a great interval workout.

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