Every year when the weather cools off, grizzly bears and black bears head into dens and other natural dwellings. They don't come out until spring—sometimes 5 to 6 months later.
Their body temperature drops. Their heart rate plummets. Their metabolism slows. They take about one breath per minute. They do not eat. They do not drink. They don't even urinate or defecate the entire hibernation period.
Do yourself a favor and do not be like our bear friends. When the weather gets cold, it's tempting to stay inside our den all winter long, watching our metabolism slow as we eat even more and exercise even less. To many, sitting in front of the fire reading a book or watching television is more comfortable than inhaling ice-cold air while running around the neighborhood.
That said, let's create a new normal for the winter months—one filled with indoor and outdoor workouts that speed up your metabolism and offset the inevitable weight gain we all brace for.
Being a grizzly bear hibernating in a cave is boring. Instead, motivate yourself to do the opposite when the weather cools off. Here are some ideas.
Sign Up for a Race
Nothing inspires like an end goal, and for runners, that's often an event on the calendar.
A race is a great motivator no matter what time of year it is. While cold-weather races are less common, there are still plenty out there. Turkey trots, jingle bell runs, resolution runs and cupid runs take place all over the country from November through February. Sign up for one and let your pride take it from there.
If all those options are too cold, sign up for a longer race in March or April and make sure you put in the time to get ready for it. Either way, it will require you to stop hibernating and start running.
No, the treadmill is not as fun as a nice run outside. But there are ways to make it interesting.
- Like a GPS watch, the data of your workout is right in front of you as you run. Set a goal (I'm going to hit 3 miles in less than 28 minutes, or I'm going to progress to 7 miles per hour in the next 10 minutes) and go for it.
- Does your favorite football team have a game on Sunday? Head to the gym and run on the treadmill for the first quarter. Your workout will be done before you know it.