Your Personalized Guide to Staying Fit During Winter

hannah moran, reporter

Today’s fitness market offers offers vastly more attractive (but perhaps less entertaining) methods of staying in shape than that of the effervescent 80s. Workouts guarunteeing results range from simple runs to the rigorous P90X workout videos to the Flirty Girl Fitness programs.

The work out programs are tailored to fit different kinds of people. One may prefer running while another may exercise though dancing.

Simply jogging is one of the best things you can do to get fit and improve your health. The only equipment required is a quality pair of tennis shoes.

Jogging strengthens the heart, increases bone density and burns fat. The only problem is, of course, dragging yourself out of bed, lacing your running shoes, turning up the iPod and making the commitment to actually run for an extended period of time.

Don’t fret, though. Any amount of running helps–start small and gradually increase the distances.
Running is the oldest “get fit trick” in the book. If you’re wanting to get into shape without the aid of some large metal contraption or a man in floral shorts, try going for a quick jog when you get home.

If you are looking to get fit while simultaneously soothing your mind, yoga is ideal.
Professional athletes and elderly people alike swear by it. Yoga touts benefits such as improved posture, increased flexibility (whether that is as fundamental as learning to bend over or as advanced as doing the splits) and decreased stress levels. By twisting the body into obscure positions, yoga rids joints of lactic acid and increases joints’ ranges of motion.

Another fitness trend that is rapidly gaining popularity is “spinning.” A typical spinning class would include an instructor, loud music and a warm room filled with stationary bikes. Spinning classes can be intense, but they are designed to work every muscle in the legs as well as the heart.

Lawrence Athletic Club offers some of the very popular spinning classes, some of which senior Regan Keasling attends.

“It’s one of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done,” she said. “But I always do it with friends, which actually makes it a lot of fun.”

If you want your workouts to not seem like workouts at all and rather like parties, try the Zumba Fitness Party. The program’s founder created Zumba when he forgot his traditional aerobic music tapes and had to use what was in his backpack–salsa and merengue music. His class loved it. Zumba, the Latino-inspired dance/fitness program, was born.

You can’t hold back, however. If you want a workout with Zumba, you have to dance. Hard. The environment in general in Zumba classes is very upbeat.

“It’s usually just me and people my mom’s age. People yell and clap during it. It’s hilarious,” Keasling said.

For those of you who don’t quite feel comfortable salsa-ing in public, numerous videos are on the market to help you exercise in the privacy of your own living room. Exercise videos have progressed a long way since the idyllic Richard Simmons days. The classic kickboxing, yoga and dance videos are all available, as is the infamous P90X program.

If none of these keeps you interested, Flirty Girl Fitness produces a pole dancing fitness program. Participants can install poles in their homes and are also taught chair dances.

Fit is good. We all know that. But as winter approaches, people are hard-pressed to find any motivation to work out. If you’re dragging, try updating your iPod or bringing a friend with you to the gym. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, perhaps stop by the library to check out some Zumba or power yoga videos.

But fair warning: if it’s been a while since you’ve hit the gym, know that yoga pants and Nike shorts have replaced Lycra leotards and leg warmers.