Staying Fit, No Matter the Weather

Harsh winter conditions do not have to result in a skipped workout.

Lifting weights and jumping rope: two effective ways to get exercise indoors.

Photo Courtesy of @Kellysikkema on Unsplash

Lifting weights and jumping rope: two effective ways to get exercise indoors.

Sebastian Gold, H&W Page Editor

Winter – Images of snow, warm coats, and hot chocolate are usually what first come to mind after hearing that word. However, none of these ideas go hand-in-hand with exercise and physical fitness, which can be problematic. We can’t just take a couple months off from our normal exercise routines, right?
Unfortunately, when temperatures struggle to get above freezing each day and the ground is often covered with white and brown sludge, this often ends up happening. Lawrence J. Cheskin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, says people, on average gain, five to seven pounds during the winter months. Of course, weight alone isn’t a great measure of overall health, especially for teenagers, but this number does ask an important question: How can we stay fit when it’s cold outside?
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should only avoid outdoor exercise if the temperature falls below zero degrees Fahrenheit, something incredibly rare in our area. However, very few enjoy spending extended amounts of time outside, even if it is 30 or 40 degrees warmer than that.
That’s not to say that outdoor exercise can’t happen in February. MHS health teacher Kathleen Degnan suggests simply going for a walk. “Bundle up and grab a friend,” she says. “With a proper jacket, hat, and gloves, this shouldn’t be a problem for many. And with another person, your attention can be turned away from the outside conditions and toward a fun conversation. If you’re feeling up for it, outdoor sports like soccer or basketball can be safely played, again with smart clothing decisions,” Degnan says.
Now, being outdoors in the winter when you don’t have to isn’t for everybody, so what is possible inside? Degnan also recommends using and following along with a wide variety of YouTube videos, which can teach you anything from dances, to yoga, to pilates. These videos can be as short as five to ten minutes, which means that you can easily fit them into a busy daily schedule.
Other options, Degnan suggests, include the Hommocks pool and ice rink, which are open through the winter months. They are fantastic resources and Mamaroneck is unique in having them.
Using gyms is often thought of as a great indoor exercise idea, but these can often be very pricy. Luckily, MHS students have the option of using the school’s very own fitness center, which provides most of the resources of a regular gym at no cost. It is open most days right after school. Sean Lynch (‘24), a sophomore who regularly uses it, says the MHS fitness center is “more than acceptable” and a “convenient option to work out.”
Mamaroneck students have a plethora of options available to them to keep exercising through the coldest months of the year. There is no reason to shy away from making an attempt to stay fit, even if the thermometer drops into a region that may seem uncomfortable. So don’t use the “but it’s cold outside” excuse, and get moving!