Workouts you can do in cold weather

November 9, 2013 

Outside the wind is howling, snow is threatening and the sun is going down before you can even make it out of the office. Makes it kind of hard to get motivated about your workout, doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing, though: We all know the drill. We get cozy and content at home and ditch our regular fitness routines. Come Jan. 1, those late-night infomercials about diet supplements and fast-paced workout routines are starting to make a lot of sense.

Why not just maintain your exercise regimen? It’s not as hard as it sounds. The Treasure Valley is full of opportunities to keep up your game. Stick with a routine this winter and swimsuit season won’t catch you off guard.

IF YOU USUALLY PLAY: Golf

TRY: Pilates

Stick with us on this one. Pilates may not seem like a natural fit for a golfer, but they’re actually pretty well suited for each other, according to instructor Chris Linane. That’s because Pilates concentrates on working the same muscles golfers use to rotate while swinging.

Linane teaches through Boise Parks and Recreation and said her class often includes people who are looking to branch out.

“I have a lot of people who either have injuries and are rehabilitating from those, or people who are golfers who in the winter want something because they can’t get out as much,” she said.

If you’re new to Pilates, Linane suggests a mat class. You won’t be using the heavy equipment usually associated with Pilates, but you will be working your core muscles while exercising on the floor on a yoga mat.

There are a number of places in the Treasure Valley that offer Pilates mat classes or more advanced instruction with equipment. Check the related informational listings starting on page 24 for details.

IF YOU USUALLY PLAY: Tennis

TRY: Pala

You don’t have to give up the magical combination of fast-paced aerobic exercise and hand-eye coordination that tennis provides. In fact, you can get the same sort of benefits while checking out a little-known piece of Boise history.

Stashed in the back of the Anduiza Fronton Building on the Basque Block is a fronton, or court, that’s accessible from a door in the alley. Walk a few steps down and you’re in a place where hundreds of people have played a game called pala for more than a century. It’s played with a small rubber ball and wooden paddles; teams of two smash the balls against the front wall. (It’s a little bit similar to racquetball.)

Annie Gavica of the Fronton Association, which maintains the fronton and its pala leagues, said that first-time members can join the group for $50 (the price increases to $100 after the first year). Membership will get you a key, access to the court’s schedule, equipment and a spot on one of the league’s pala teams. The fall league has already begun, Gavica said, but a winter league will start up in February.

Can’t wait that long? Several locations around town offer racquetball year-round.

IF YOU USUALLY DO: Stand-up paddleboarding

TRY: Aerial yoga

Like stand-up paddleboarding, aerial yoga looks graceful and easy when it’s done by someone who knows what she’s doing.

And then you try it and realize it’s work.

Aerial yoga is done with the assistance of silks that hang from the studio ceiling. At Ophidia Studio in Boise, instructor Janie Patrick shows students how to perform the workout.

“We adapt yoga moves for the silks,” she said. “So we use the silks like a prop, like an apparatus to help us move. Sometimes it makes it harder; sometimes it makes it easier.”

You might find yourself moving through Down Dog while suspended in the air, or using the resistance of the silks to intensify a Warrior I pose.

Like stand-up paddleboarding, aerial yoga targets the key muscles that will help you with your core strength and balance. Patrick says it really is a full-body workout, from your core to your legs.

The best part, she says, is that during the beginning and end of each class, you can create a little “womb” for yourself out of silks, making it easier to deepen your practice.

“Hopefully you feel relaxed, and nice and stretched out and tired — like you got a good workout in,” Patrick said.

Ophidia Studio may be the only place in town for aerial yoga, but a yoga or PiYo class will give you similar benefits.

IF YOU USUALLY DO: Road cycling

TRY: Spinning

Anyone who has ever stepped off a bike at the end of a long road session knows how it feels to get a good workout. Cyclists can get the same feeling with popular spinning classes throughout Boise and Meridian.

And come summer, you might even be able to wow your fellow cyclists, said Maribeth Standley, an instructor at Breakaway Cycling Studio in Meridian.

“I am a road cyclist and more of a mountain biker,” Standley said. “I never really liked long, uphill climbs — I liked the downhill thrill. Now since starting spinning, I can far outdo my friends.”

Breakaway’s studio is stocked with RealRyder bikes, which shift and move with the rider — much like a real bike, Standley said.

“Not a lot of time to be reading a magazine or anything,” she said.

The classes are designed to pack a great workout into a short period of time. “It’s a really good workout, and you get a lot of cardio,” Standley said. “More cardio than I’ve ever gotten in my life.”

IF YOU USUALLY PLAY: Lacrosse

TRY: Hockey

Hockey gives a similar workout to lacrosse while keeping hand-eye coordination sharp. And it’s a crazy good time, said enthusiast Julie Walker. She’s now part of a women’s league at Idaho Ice World, but it wouldn’t have happened without her kids, who started playing and encouraged her to come out and try it.

“Finally I just went out, and it was a blast,” she said. “It was such a good workout, too, and it was fun.”

Walker didn’t have any experience when she started, but she took advantage of a class offered through the city called Hockey 101.

“There’s so much action going on, and there’s so much to learn,” she said. “You have to learn to skate, and then you have to learn how to hit the puck.”

The whole family has developed a love of hockey, Walker said — her husband now plays on a co-ed team with her.

Walker suggests newbies take advantage of skills clinics offered through the city. She gets help a little closer to home.

“Since I have children who are superior, they just help me,” Walker said with a laugh.

Julie Hahn is a freelance writer who lives in Boise and thinks the best gym is just a few blocks away from home: the Foothills.[0x0b]

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