What if you picked up the Green Bay Press Gazette and saw a headline that read “Study Shows Green Bay Area Winters Promote Superior Fitness Levels in Community?”
Honestly, it’s not that far-fetched of a concept, we’re just used to hearing the opposite message: that the long, cold Wisconsin winter prevents us from being as healthy as we should be. At Wello, we’re committed to flipping the script and activating the community with an alternate message. Our community - right now even in the dead of winter - has the ability to be the healthiest in the country!
For one thing, there are lots of great, paid and free ways to get out and be active. So, staying in step with our focus on winter well-being, we reached out to some of our community partners in the field of fitness to get tips on how to best use our long Green Bay winter to build a fitness plan that delivers.
Pick an Event and Go For It!
Setting a concrete goal in the winter, such as running a road race or completing a cycling event in the spring, is a great way to give shape to a sustainable, year-round fitness program. First, having an event on the horizon allows you to work backwards and plan the right steps for achieving the best possible physical conditioning. Second, community events like races and walks connect you with others with similar goals that can help you stay motivated.
But why wait? Frenzy on the Fox takes place tomorrow, Friday, January 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This after-dark, “pick your own distance” race starts at Hagemeister Park on City Deck and includes an option for 5K walk/run and 10K bike ride. The Fox River Trail will be dressed up for the event with glow sticks and fire pits, and registration includes a free cup of hot chocolate!
And, your fitness goals don’t have to be competitive. If you are more a “treasure hunt” person, the Green Bay Parks and Recreation’s Chill Chaser program is right up your alley. A little like an outdoor interactive bingo game, Chaser participants are challenged to visit 20 of Green Bay’s parks and find and record the symbol in the park shelter window on a Chill Chaser game board. While we think the thrill of the hunt is reward enough, participants who submit their game boards to the Parks Department will get a prize AND be entered into a grand prize drawing!
Winter Is a Great Time to Cross-Train
Another piece of good news is that the colder temperatures and snowy climate can stimulate workout creativity.
Mark Earnst, former owner of InCompetition Sports and the Bay Nordic Ski Club articulated another important reason that the winter months can be useful for building year-round fitness.
“Everyone knows that you can’t maintain fitness with an indoors-only strategy,” says the Nordic Ski coach. “It’s boring and boring doesn’t last.”
Treadmills and stationary bikes can play a role in winter fitness, but they don’t have to be the alpha and omega. During the non-snowy late fall months, InCompetition offers Hill Bounding workouts at the Baird Creek sledding hill. During the winter Earnst has no trouble getting outside and exercising. He recommends skiing or snowshoeing at local area venues like Barkhausen Preserve.
Enjoying a treat with friends at the end of the workout can make it easier to get motivated, as well as shake the winter blues. The Bay Shore Bike Club makes a tweak to a club’s “Wing It Bike Ride” tradition when the weather gets cold. Instead of bikes, the group uses boots or snowshoes to stroll in the woods at Barkhausen Preserve on the third Tuesday of the winter months.
“The length of the hike is determined by the people who show up,” says Dawn. “And at the end of the hike we head to the Four Way Bar for a snack.”
If you’re interested, the group meets at Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve at 2024 Lakeview Drive in Suamico on the 3rd Tuesday of the winter months (November thru March). For more info contact Rod Creighbaum at email@example.com.
So, enough already about how tough it is to stay active in the winter months. The Greater Green Bay Area has an amazing variety of resources for connecting with your fitness goals. Know about one we didn’t mention? Share it with us!