Saturday, October 31, 2015

How I Crush The Dreaded 'Winter Blues'

Well, the final couple days of October are upon us. For those in Canada (and many other places a good distance from the equator), any final hopes of that rogue warm and sunny day have passed us by.

I find the first frost of the season can be a depressing time, especially with the prospect of being stuck indoors for four months. Long gone are those sunny Sunday morning bike rides through the country, the warm evening runs with the sun still high in the sky, and of course basking the in rays by my backyard pool. While there is nothing I can do to enjoy my pool in November, there are many ways I keep both my fun and my cardio rolling from the first colours of fall, through the depths of the winter freeze, right until the flowers bloom next spring! Here are my favorites:

Winter Running / Cycling 
Running in near freezing (or even sub-zero) temperatures basically has two important rules. Layer as needed and avoid the ice. You can’t run in a winter jacket, but you will be surprised how warm an active hoodie over top of a long sleeve running shirt will keep your core. Throw on some running/cycling tights for your legs and cardio-friendly hand and ear protection and you will be surprised both how warm and agile you are on the road/path/trail. Equally as important is to ensure your route is free of ice patches. Cycling is dangerous below zero, but very doable in November with the right gear. Get out and explore your neighbour from the perspective of winter! 

You don't even need to leave your neighbourhood to seek outdoor fun this winter!
Snow Shoeing
The pastime I discovered last winter and one of my favorite outdoor actives. If you can hike a trail in the summer, you can snow-shoe it in the winter. I would argue that the experience is even better than hiking as the touristy crowds that plague many popular parks and trails over the summer months are long gone come the first snowfall. It is also much cheaper than other seasonal sports like snowboarding or skiing for beginners to get into. The winter scenery is beautiful and it is a fantastic workout. Check out a previous blog post all about my love for snow shoeing.

A brisk November right to the Toronto lakeshore
Indoor Workouts
If you are anything like me you understand that working out indoors during a beautiful summer’s day is a waste. Last winter I signed up for both an affordable boot camp and a spin class through my local rec center. The winter can be cold, dark & depressing and there is no better way to keep your fitness and spirits up than good ol’ physical activity. The structured classes make you less likely to bail and your spring self will thank you for the head start on the new season’s goals!

Wintery, winery snowshoeing
Caribbean Vacation
You can’t let winter go by without some serious relaxing. There is nothing comparable to boarding a plane in -15C and getting off it at 30C. Do yourself a favour a book an all-inclusive resort. For as little as $700 per-person you can be lounging seaside with all of the included food and drink you can handle. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is one of my favorite spots for quality and overall value, but there are plenty to choose from in the DR as well as Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba etc. Here are some tips on booking the perfect all-inclusive vacation.

What the DR is all about! 

Mike @ Palms & Pints