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Jan 21, 2022

Winter Warrior

Winter is here, and with its arrival comes earlier sunsets for most, colder temps, lots of layers for some, and the winter blues for many.

Winter can be the hardest time of the year to stay motivated. Perhaps it’s the early darkness, shorter days, end of race season, or the amount of overindulging we do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Whatever the reason, it can make you just want to hibernate during the holidays and into the winter months. But staying physically active is one of the best ways to improve or maintain your physical and mental health.

Lucky for me, my local running specialty store teamed up with Brooks® to offer a great program to help keep the running community active and motivated during the winter months. The Winter Warrior challenge is an eight-week program starting on January 1. The objective is to get participants moving for thirty minutes at least four times a week.

Program participants join an online platform to log their activities. You can walk, run, bike, hike, take a yoga class, shovel snow, or chase after the new fur baby you got from the local animal shelter for Christmas.

Whatever the activity is, if you do it for 30 minutes and log it onto the platform, you’re in it to win it. What do you win? Most importantly, participants win a sense of accomplishment. But there are also fun virtual badges, an awesome shirt, and if you log 32 activities or more during the challenge, you can snag yourself a cool mug. Oh, and then there are bragging rights. Last year was the first time for the challenge, and it was a huge hit with my running community. It’s a fun way to stay connected and casually competitive with your run fam.

Don’t let your motivation go down with the early sunsets! If you don’t have a challenge like this in your area, make your own! Here are ways to stay active during the winter months:

  1. Involve everyone in the house. Live alone? Empty nester? Start a group challenge with family and friends via text.
  2. Start small. Choose an activity and a duration you can commit to. For example, from January 1-31, walk, run or hike three times per week for 30 minutes.
  3. Make it interesting! You can switch things up daily or opt for the same activity every day and choose a new one before starting a new week.
  4. Take an online fitness class. The pandemic forced this trend. However, many fitness centers have opted to continue offering live-stream classes.
  5. Inclement weather? No excuses! When bad weather keeps you from being outdoors, find ways to get physical indoors. Don’t discount house chores such as sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping. They all count toward physical activity. I don’t know about you, but Swiffer-ing is a whole workout for me!

Perspiration releases endorphins in the brain that make people feel good. Just 30 minutes a day of any activity to raise your heart rate will do. You don’t even have to leave the house. Dance, clean out the basement or attic, or run up and down the stairs, so get moving and release your inner winter warrior!

By: Danielle Barnes – @dannibsays (IG) @dannib413 (Twitter)

Danielle Barnes is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University. Her superpower is her ability to captivate audiences with her words whether it’s in person or on paper. Danielle enjoys devouring a good book, volunteering for causes she’s passionate about, staying active, and traveling the globe to see the world in all its glory.