5 Cold-Weather Cardio Workouts You Can Do Almost Anywhere

Posted by on Mar 7, 2015 | 0 comments

5 Cold-Weather Cardio Workouts You Can Do Almost Anywhere [followmyfootnotes.com]Greetings from Ohio, where, although it’s March, there are still zero signs of spring.

Honestly, whenever I’ve mustered up the courage to look at the 10-day forecast lately, it’s been like opening up that letter you’ve been anticipating but are afraid to open for fear of what may be inside. At this point, the mid-30s sound like summer.

Also, to the marketers of Groupon, Travelzoo, Hilton, ZOZI and more… I see right through you, taunting me with email subject lines about Caribbean vacations and Hawaiian getaways, but that has not kept me from investigating.  I may hit that especially desperate point yet.

February was not my favorite month. In fact, it was about this time last year that I signed up for FitCamp, after weeks of frigid temperatures and ice kept me from taking more than a few steps, much less running, outside. One year later, I’m happy I turned that low point into a high one because FitCamp definitely gets me up and moving, even on the coldest of cold mornings.

That being said, I don’t rely on FitCamp for all of my cardio. Sure, sometimes the flights of stairs seem endless (sorry, throbbing legs), and the workouts burn a ton of calories- usually close to at least 500 per 50-minute class- but it’s a full-body workout, and each class differs on how much cardio we do, especially in the winter, when options, even there, are limited.

When it’s above 30 degrees, I usually run the mile to and from class to get my cardio fix, but that has only happened about once in the past month. I’ll also run in the evenings after work a few days a week to relax and de-stress, and I’ll fit in longer runs on weekends- all when it’s not miserable outside.

But, Mother Nature has been messing with my routine, so I’ve had to get creative. May these 5 ideas for getting your cardio on when it’s freezing outside inspire those of you who are going a bit stir crazy to get up and get moving before spring comes (if it ever does).

1. Spinning. I spin year-round to mix up up my cardio routine, and it’s been awesome cross-training for running. It’s also low-impact, so a good option for people like me, who don’t have especially good knees or ankles. But, I especially appreciate my indoor spinning classes this time of year. I know spinning can be intimidating. A small room full of bikes you don’t know how to set up, packed with hard-core, sweaty people in Spandex- that’s enough to make anyone run for the safety of the ellyptical. But, not so fast!

Try spinning a few times, and chances are you’ll be hooked. I say that because the first few, you WILL be out of breath, possibly kind of confused about resistance and RPM, likely sore and still intimidated by your tight-clothed classmates. But, keep at it, and you’ll be in for the long haul. I’ve been spinning consistently for going on five years, and I look forward to every class. I also like that it’s always my workout- I control how fast I want to go, how much resistance to add and basically how hard I want to work. Being in a class is definitely motivation to work harder, but you can work up to it, or adjust depending on the day.

2. Interval training. I love HIIT (high intensity interval training), where you go really hard at one exercise for a set, short amount of time, rest, and then go at it (or a different exercise) again before another rest. We do a lot of those kinds of workouts at FitCamp. I especially like the tabata form of HIIT, which consists of eight rounds of ultra-high-intensity exercises, with rests, usually of the same length, between each round.

HIIT burns a lot of calories and is great for blasting fat. Also, for people who have short attention spans, like myself, it keeps you engaged and challenged through the whole workout. There are lots of free apps with interval timers, too, so you can workout basically anywhere; I use one called Interval Timer on my iPhone and iPad that lets me create and save different routines. sNOw excuses, right?hiit

I love HIIT for strength training, but it’s also very effective for cardio. Fact: I absolutely loathe the treadmill. To those who train for marathons on that moving path to nowhere, I give you serious props, but it bores me to tears, even with a rocking playlist or attached TV. But, when Mother Nature pulls a fast one and times are tough, I’ll jump on the treadmill, or occasionally the elliptical, and do some intervals. I bump up the speed for 2o seconds, then jump to the sides and rest for 10, and repeat eight times. It only takes four minutes per set (I usually do 2-3), but it gets your heart thumping and is excellent for burning fat. Try my latest favorite routine.

HIIT The Winter Blues 20-Minute Tabata for Treadmill Haters [followmyfootnotes.com]

Or,  I’ll do rounds of burpees, squat or lunge jumps or jumping jacks at home, which was especially handy on recent mornings when it was too icy to make it to 6 a.m. FitCamp.

3. Running outside. I’m a huge baby when it comes to the cold, so clearly I not going to claim to be one of those hard-core runners who will go out in sub-zero temperatures and snow, outfitted with spikes on their shoes and a face mask. But, as long as there’s not ice and it’s in the 20s, I’ll venture out. I’m so glad I invested in good gloves, a headband, wool socks, thick running tights and sweat-wicking tops, and I highly recommend doing so to anyone who enjoys running. Just getting some fresh air and feeling the sunshine, whatever the temperature, is worth it!columbus

4. Stairs. We run a ton of stairs in bootcamp during the winter, since class is held in a large office building, and outside is not an option. It’s not uncommon to be ordered to sprint to the top of the six flights at least a few times each class, and, let me tell you, those hamstrings are screaming the next day. When combined with other strength and cardio sets, like tabata or intervals, stairs are especially a doozy. I’ll often combine stair running into my workouts at the gym, or even sprint up the stairs in my apartment building. So find and indoor stairwell, and start climbing. I recommend suicides, if you really want to push it. I did them this morning and am feeling it.Do-Anywhere Stair Suicides [followmyfootnotes.com] 5. Winter sports. I went skiing and tubing a few weeks ago at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania. It had been a few years since I hit the slopes, so it took me a little bit to get my ski legs back. Once I did, it was so much fun, and I forgot what fun AND a good workout skiing is. Definitely was a bit sore the next day. We also went tubing, which didn’t require quite as much effort, but I was still sweating hauling my big tube around. My point here: Stop cursing winter for a second, and just get out there and embrace the snow once in a while. It’s not quite as easy to get out and ski here in the Midwest as it is elsewhere, but find a way to get out there and play. It wipes those winter blues away.tubing at seven springs

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