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Not-So-Happy Trails

A woman struggles to trick herself into thinking that winter exercise is more fun than sweatpants and 80s TV re-runs.

I have a hard time working out in the winter. What’s that? I’m not the only one?

In the summer, I cannot get enough of the outdoors. Thanks to Woodbury’s miles and miles of trails, I spend almost every day using the trails for running, cycling, or walking my dogs.

Yeah, I’m that person. The one you see happily gallivanting through your neighborhood, and then an hour later I’m walking by and my dog is pooping in your yard (but I’m picking it up, of course!), and then the following morning I’m riding by on my bike trying to look like a female Lance Armstrong (bad comparison, and one I should probably no longer use). But once daylight savings time ends, I’m in semi-hibernation.

As I look at the treadmill sitting in my office, night after night, it taunts me:

“Lauren, why aren’t you using me? Why are you such a bum? Stop reading the Patch and get over here (though I heartily disagree with that point). The carton that once held your Ben & Jerry’s is not part of the actual snack. Get over here and move a little!”

When I finally do succumb to the treadmill’s bullying, I HATE every moment of it. I try to distract myself with music, or maybe a few episodes of Parks and Recreation. Unfortunately, it has now ruined that show for me, and my heart races and I start to sweat every time I see Amy Poehler on TV (more than the average person, I guess).

I try to run outside in the winter. Tights, wind pants, thermal shirt, fleece jacket, hat, ski mask, and two layers of mittens. It’s 5 degrees, and I’m sweating like a pig. The kind of pig who overdresses for winter activities. I wear out after 15 minutes and I’m back home in my high school sweatshirt and sweatpants watching reruns of Roseanne.

Joining a fitness club? Not likely. You can’t even find a parking spot at Life Time this time of year because EVERYONE is stuck inside and miserable and thinks that joining a gym will solve that, until they suddenly realize they haven’t gone in 2 years but have been paying for it all along because I keep thinking I’ll go to finally “get in shape” (Oh…that happened to a person I know. Yeah, that’s it).

Being an active person in Minnesota during the winter is challenging! Or so I think. Then I see the young kids outside, without a care in the world, building forts, paying tag, ice skating, and sledding. And the weather doesn’t even faze them. As a 28-year-old, I can’t go outside and run around my yard giggling and rolling in the snow or my neighbors are going to call the police and I’ll end up in the Police Blotter. I can see the headline now: Strange, out-of-shape person arrested for neighborhood disturbance.

So I will continue to struggle to be healthy and active in the winter. We’re halfway there. There is light at the end of the tunnel. And soon, we’ll all be back out there, nodding and saying hello as we pass our neighbors on the trail while silently thinking how many more miles we need to run before we can treat ourselves to some self-serve frozen yogurt.

Do you have any hints for keeping fit in the winter?

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Michelle Scheuermann January 23, 2013 at 08:11 PM
I'm the same way. I feel like I'm one the "hardy ones" when I run on the trails, but really, I'm just one step away from breaking my ankle on a slick patch. So I ski and go to yoga at Yoga Fresh (love that place!)
Kris Janisch January 23, 2013 at 08:13 PM
With you there Michelle. And yoga is a good winter workout. Plus, I too hate a slick patch. (;
Lauren Tschida January 23, 2013 at 11:24 PM
I love cross country skiing, but I feel like the conditions haven't been that great the last few weeks. I've never tried yoga and I may have to give it a shot!
Jim Brun January 24, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Try snowshoe running at Afton State Park. Or, a little closer to home, Carver Lake Park. It's 40% more work than normal trail running and it makes exercize more of an adventure than a necessary "chore". The snow conditions don't have to be as ideal as with skiing.
Kris Janisch January 24, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Thanks for the info Jim! I went snowshoeing for the first time up at the cabin over Christmas, it was really fun.
yomammy January 25, 2013 at 01:38 PM
hmmmmm.....
Lauren Tschida January 28, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I would LOVE to try snowshoeing. Now that we got a fresh coating of snow it may be the perfect time to try it!

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