10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
Has the snow and cold got you down? Cheer up: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. From snowshoeing and swing dancing to bargain shopping, we’ve got ideas on how to defend yourself against the winter doldrums
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5. [Work Out]
Winter exercise is guaranteed to lift your mood. But sometimes you need a little push to slog off to the gym on a frosty day. That’s where All Sport Fishkill’s Survival of the Fittest program comes in. Cheerfully but firmly led by trainer and nutritional consultant Kim Knauf, the 12-week full-body overhaul groups participants into three teams based on desired weight loss: 10 pounds and under, 10 to 25 pounds, or 25-plus pounds. Team members cheer each other on in weekly group exercise sessions that use weights, Bosu balls, kettlebells, and bands, leaving no muscle unexerted. “Average weight loss is 15-20 pounds,” says Knauf. “But I tell them not to be a slave to the scale; muscle weighs more than fat.”
If you’re a runner (or want to be one), you’ll find camaraderie at the long-distance running classes offered at Gold’s Gym LaGrange. During the dark days of winter, runners can train for spring marathons indoors in one-hour evening sessions on the indoor track, supplemented by strength training on cardio equipment. Coach Leo Saposnick also organizes daytime outdoor weekend runs (included in the cost) on local 5- and 10-mile courses. “Most everyone goes on to do at least a half-marathon,” says Saposnick.
For a twist, try the Triathlon Weekend Training Program at Mohonk Mountain House this January 29-31. Top-ranked triathletes will lead the activities like snowshoeing and swimming in the indoor pool. Meals are included and you don’t have to stay overnight to participate.
Workouts aren’t always about losing weight, of course. At Mike Arteaga’s Health and Fitness Centers in Poughkeepsie and Highland, you can strengthen your back. In the 10 years that the centers have offered the MedX Healthy Back and Neck Program, some 2,500 people have participated, including Arteaga himself. Machines target different areas of the spine and make the back do the work (without pain). The workouts take 10 minutes. “Once you strengthen and stabilize the spine, a lot of back problems vanish without surgery,” says Arteaga. “It’s not uncommon to have a 50-percent increase in strength.”