Tag Archives: cold

What To Do When It’s -13 Degrees Outside

With this crazy cold weather, even though people in Alaska are probably laughing at us, it is hard to get up and do something!  Too cold to walk the dog, or go outside for yourself for more than 15 minutes, or maybe your car is parked outside and won’t start, so your stranded at your house…

Here are some ideas if your car will start…

My dog after doggie day camp...
My dog after doggie day camp…

Have a dog? PetsMart has doggie day camp ($15 for half day, $21 for full day) where you can drop your dog off (with the updated Vet paperwork) and your dog can play with others in a room while you can go off and amuse yourself with errands.

I do this with my dog when he has cabin fever and we haven’t been able to take him for longer walks or runs, he comes home absolutely exhausted, which is awesome!

With or without pets, go visit somewhere unique, like an aquarium! There is a new one in southeast Michigan called Sea Life, I haven’t been there yet, but I plan to very soon as this cold weather continues throughout the week!

Go rock climbing.  Even if you are brand spankin’ new to it, it would be a great thing to do with this weather.  You can pay rock climbingfor a class and day of climbing, which also pays for another trip to the gym (and you never have to pay for the starter class again, they will re-teach you for free every time if you want). Not sure about your state, but Michigan has one Planet Rock gym in Ann Arbor, and a brand new one in Madison Heights. Go do something different! You might be like me and get addicted to a new great hobby!

I’ll mention the usual mall visit and raiding Costco’s sampler stations, but those aren’t very creative.

If your car won’t start…

Get caught up on work: I know… doesn’t sound very exciting, but getting stuff done that you didn’t really have time to do before will actually bring you a lot of happiness!

Be Artsy:  You likely have some kind of art supplies in your house, if you don’t, you’re missing out.

Inspired in the fall :)
Inspired in the fall 🙂

Simple as using pencil and paper to do a cool shading piece of artwork, or get complicated with fun acrylic paintings. Anything you feel inspired to do can be found on YouTube to make the complete amateurs look like they knew what they were doing, so why not?

If you can get out to Micheal’s, I suggest investing in a wood burning pen.  Wood burning designs is actually very calming and amusing.  I’ll make a separate post that goes into detail on how I’ve done that, but it is one of my favorite indoor activities, and the smell is like a subtle bonfire. 🙂

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Best Fat-Burning Winter Workout

With the recent snow storm chaos, I am personally ecstatic to finally cross country ski right out my back door, and then I also thought, how many people who love to exercise, like the snow, or made a new years resolution to loose weight have never cross country skied?

As the definition from Wikipedia cracked me up, so I’ve decided to use it. Cross country skiing is is travel on skis over snow-covered terrain, whereby skiers rely on their own locomotion rather than on ski lifts or other forms of assistance.

XC Skiing Northern Michigan
XC Skiing Northern Michigan

So with your own locomotion propelling you forward, it’s a workout that works out your legs, abs and arms, giving you a thorough full body workout.  What most people don’t realize when they hit the gym in the winter, is that it takes a good 20-30 minutes before you even get to the point where your are burning fat.  Your body burns it’s “ready to use” sugar first which could be from what you just ate, to the Gatorade you may be drinking. Once it has burned through that, then it starts going to its reserves, but, ONLY if you are not exerting yourself too much.  Doing a workout where you’re able to hold a conversation and work out for a longer time (over an hour) is where your body will burn fat the most efficiently.

Cross Country skiing does JUST THAT.  It is a “medium” workout, not too hard, not too easy, just right for burning that winter fat that seems to add up so easily.  So how do you do it? It’s pretty self explanatory, you use the poles to keep your place while you move one foot after another, but where to do it all depends on the resources around you.  You could cross country ski around your subdivision if you wanted, you don’t need much snow to move, but the most enjoyable experience is getting out with some trees.  Renting is suggested, since it is cheap and you can see if you’d like it.  County parks (at least in Michigan) have them for rent. Doing a little research in your community and calling places that sell skis may help as well in finding rentals.

Hopefully you’ve been inspired to try XC skiing if you’ve never thought to, or get out and do it if you have!  I have my own equipment now and have found it extremely worth it, if you hunt the outdoor stores online for a while, you’re bound to find a good deal. I was able to get great skis, boots, and poles (all new) for under $200.  Patience is a virtue :).

NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER… JUST BAD CHOICE OF CLOTHING.

Quotes addressing this idea have been sourced back to 1912, and it holds true to this day! As we are reaching record lows across the country for this time of year, I figured it would be appropriate to create a post that addresses the best clothing that gets your mind off the chill factor.

As one who doesn’t let the cold hinder activity, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about how to dress in winter.  It took much trial and error through a large span of climate settings, but what is posted is the best of the best of my experiences. The following advice goes from head to toe to help you be prepared for the winter chill.

NOTE: this is somewhat bias towards women… since I am not a man and don’t know what is, or is not, comfortable. If you are a male reading this and have some good recommendations, PLEASE comment below and share the knowledge!

“You know it’s all about the base…”

The most difficult thing to anticipate in the winter is whether you will be too hot or too cold during your adventures outside…either one could be very uncomfortable and affect your experience.  I’ve had the best result with the following…

Detroit Turkey Trot 2013
Detroit Turkey Trot 2013

Head: fleece headband and men and woman can wear the behind the head earmuffs. Both of these are nice because it allows heat escape, avoiding the sweating and overheating factor.

Neck: I used to wear a variety of scarves with different densities, but I’ve moved on from those and onto Buff neck-wear.  I absolutely love the lightest density

Buff Neckwear
Buff Neck-wear

shown in this image. I’ve used it in multiple races and it helps to cover my face and allowing me to breathe, and doesn’t get too hot if the weather warms up on the adventure. I also have a more dense version of the Buff which I use for less exerting activity or more severe weather.

Upper body: when the weather is under 40 degrees, I resort to tight, form fitting Under Armour long sleeve base layer tops.   Men Click Here.

IMG_0583 (2)

Over the base top, I wear a light jacket if I’m running or doing similar exercises in degrees colder than 35 degrees.  If I am doing activities such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or hiking, I’ll wear a sweatshirt over the base, then a coat over the sweatshirt (depending on how cold it is and the intensity of the activity).

The main point is dress in layers!

If you’re exerting a lot of energy, start off feeling cold because if you start your exercise feeling comfortable, you will be too hot in a matter of minutes.

I once ran a 5K in 7 degrees and was grateful for my light choice of clothing as I found myself throwing off my gloves in the middle of the race.

Legs: I have been lucky to have relatives who know me and my hobbies during the holiday season, so I have no lack of athletic winter tights to fill my dresser drawers.  Athletic tights such as these truly help block the chill, while allowing mobility to the max.  I also use these as a base to all moderate activity, wearing them under jeans and snow pants when the temperature really drops.

Toes:  Cotton is not your friend, especially in the winter. I’ve read about the negative effects of cotton through various magazine articles and my experiences agree, cotton is terrible for athletic people.  The best solution, especially when the weather is below freezing, is wool. REI and Smartwool are my top two brands, as they have different densities for all kinds of activities.  From light running socks to extremely thick winter socks, these brands have a sock for any occasion. But with IMG_0593warmth and moisture wicking technology comes the hindrance of cost.  These socks are VERY pricy, my advice? If you have small feet, buy the children socks. They are just as good quality for a fraction of the cost.  Have normal size feet? The REI brand and other off-brands are usually cheaper than the most popular Smartwool.  You can go a step further and just wait for holiday sales to occur, socks are almost always on the discount list during the holidays.

For discounted gear, check websites for their outlets. Here are a few good ones!  Nike  REI   Dicks Sporting Goods  Under Armour

There you have it, head to toe recommendations from yours truly, based on over ten years of experience in running, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking through the winter months!