It’s here again. I can see my breath when I walk outside. It’s dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. And when I sit on my perch in front of the television, I use a blanket while my frozen feet thaw. I’m really not ready for this. It’s that time of year when the workout routine becomes more challenging, testing the resolve of those of us who insist that exercise is an important facet of healthy living. Just four months ago, on our Atlantic Coast Mom-to-Mom tour, Debbie and I were melting like marshmallows being toasted over a camp bonfire. Now, we’re shivering. The “sedentary season” has arrived. Will you be taking a break, or will you keep moving?
Living in the northern tier of the United States means you must learn how to alter your workout routines. Cycling is a seasonal sport here, even if it is a year-round passion. In years past, when the cold weather arrived, I moved my bicycle indoors and mounted it on a trainer. With a training tape popped into the VCR and the heat turned up, my virtual bicycle ride was a poor substitute for the real thing. Nevertheless, it would raise the heartrate sufficiently to maintain a reasonable level of fitness during the winter. After these “rides,” I’d dismount, clean up, change from summer apparel to an overcoat and boots, and venture out into the icebox to trudge through some snow.
Nowadays, the bicycle is retired in the offseason, hung on two large hooks in the shed. While the bicycle hibernates, I try not to. But it’s not easy. Heading out to the gym on a cold evening is another battle won in the fitness war of the sedentary season.
I’ve found over the years that it doesn’t pay to ignore wintertime exercise. Those of us who do pay a stiff penalty when spring arrives. Fitness gains that came about with so much work in the preceding season are ready to steal away as we huddle inside to keep warm. It seems the older one gets, the more difficult it is to get back in shape. The moral of the story: don’t get out of shape. Whatever you do, don’t stop moving. Keep the heart pumping. Soon, we’ll face an overabundance of holiday food, longer and colder nights, and a growing desire to just stay inside. However, spring is just around the corner. So, don’t give in.
If the arrival of cold weather has you down, think of this time of year as a chance to change things up. You get a break from the routine. Use this time of year to make plans for bicycle adventures for the upcoming year. That should motivate you. Winter paves the way for spring, and warmer weather thereafter. Keep moving so you’ll be ready when thermometers begin to rise.