Blizzard-ready fitness

In case you haven’t heard, or aren’t fortunate enough to live in New England, we got walloped with one heck of a winter storm yesterday. Over two feet of snow fell according to the official totals, but I was wading through snow that came up to mid-hip yesterday, so I’m convinced the actual total was closer to three feet. Either way, the storm led to some serious cabin fever.

Winter storms make me long for hot cocoa, rich and hearty stews, and curling up with some whiskey and a good book. Unfortunately, none of those things are helping me to reach my wellness goals! I will admit that I indulged in a mug of cocoa spiked with some Bailey’s after my shoveling adventures yesterday, but otherwise I’ve tried really hard to keep up with my fitness goals during the past 48 hours of being stuck at home. I figured I’d share some of my strategies to help myself succeed through this storm!

Stock up on healthy groceries. Yes, like everyone else in New England, I rushed to the grocery store on Monday to make sure I had enough food to last through the storm. I had to have options on hand that didn’t require cooking in case we lost power, and I needed to make sure I had some basics ready to go. I picked up some Special K cereal (I love the Vanilla Almond flavor) and a few extra containers of coconut milk for a healthy breakfast option, and I got some whole grain bread, low sodium turkey, and part-skim cheese for sandwich fixins. I knew that I’d want something to snack on, so I turned to the chip aisle with a critical eye, and was super excited to find this Vanilla Caramel Popcorn. I love popcorn and usually air pop it myself, but this was a good backup in case we lost power – and it’s pretty low in sugar, so it didn’t have that overly sweet kettle corn taste that I try to avoid. Definitely recommend!

Don’t skip your workout. It’s really tempting to stay curled up in sweats under a blanket, but I know that I always feel better when I get in my workout for the day. I had to cancel my planned yoga class on Monday in order to get home before the storm, but I was still feeling pretty achy after this past weekend’s ski outing, so I came home and did 45 minutes of yoga on my own. I’m still not a master yogi by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have enough experience at this point that I feel like I can put together a series of sun salutations and basic poses without needing to follow a DVD. Once the storm actually hit, shoveling turned out to be quite enough of a workout for me! Clearing out the driveway, the walkway, and our stairs took several hours. We do have a snowblower, but I did the walkways by hand, and also had to dig out our cars. Be careful when shoveling, and always remember not to overdo it! Be careful not to overload your shovel when lifting snow, and always keep your knees bent. Also, don’t jump right into shoveling – warm up beforehand with some light stretching and easy cardio, like a walk around the block, to warm up your muscles and help prevent injury.

It’s okay to indulge – but be smart about it! I love to bake, and whenever I’m stuck at home during a storm, the urge to have something delicious in the oven becomes too strong to ignore. This week, I had some bananas that were at the “bake me or toss me” point of ripeness, so I made banana bread. I used whole wheat flour, added some low-sugar dried cranberries and toasted pecans to the batter, and topped it all with a steel cut oatmeal crumble for some added crunch and an extra source of whole grains. The treat came out great, and I felt like I was indulging, but because I had made smart swaps for some of the ingredients, I felt less guilty about my treat.

Sometimes being a kid is the best way to feel great! I admit, when the neighborhood kids were passing by me carrying their sleds, while I was stuck shoveling out my cars, I felt some serious jealousy. I wanted nothing more than to toss aside the shovel and join them! Unfortunately, I don’t own a sled anymore, otherwise I can’t say that I wouldn’t have tagged along. I couldn’t resist the desire to get out and romp in the snow, though, so I took my dog out yesterday afternoon for some winter playtime. Unfortunately he’s not the biggest fan of this weather… all those videos you see online of dogs leaping playfully through the snow banks? Yeah, not so much with my dog. He wanted the whole thing to be over before it had even really begun. But I had a blast out there, diving into snow drifts, making snow angels, climbing over the piles of snow that were taller than I am – and it definitely counts as cardio! The mood lift also counts toward my overall wellness goal, trust me.

I know a lot of New Englanders are grumbling and complaining about this storm, but honestly, I’m loving it. I love living in the Boston area, winters and all! I’m also hoping that this storm is a sign of more to come, because I’d really like to use my Stratton season pass to ski straight through April!

What tips do you swear by to survive winter storms? 

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