Physically and mentally training in the off-season

Ed.: bumped to the front page (though I love running in winter because it's the best, duh). – DM

It happens to the best of us. When the temperatures drop and the sun goes down earlier in the day, it gets harder and harder to unwrap yourself from your blanket cocoon and brave the cold to get in a daily workout. It’s so much easier in the warmer months. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the air doesn’t shock your system. You just feel healthier, before you even do anything! Working out feels good, you feel good.

Then the winter creeps up you and it’s a huge setback. Suddenly working out just became…work all over again. Fortunately, there are more than a few comfortable ways you can stay in shape in the cold months.

Go Inside!

There are many challenging physical activities you can do inside your own home. This could be a great opportunity to try out a workout DVD or program you have been meaning to give a shot. And, hey, that Nintendo Wii isn’t just for killing zombies. Wii Fit is designed to create a tailored workout plan just for you in your own living room.

If you’re looking for something to do with your family, it couldn’t hurt to challenge each other in a Wii Sports, Xbox Kinect or Dance Dance Revolution tournament. Can’t guarantee who will win, but you’re guaranteed to get moving and that’s what it’s all about!

Join (or Create) a Group!

Have you heard of Zumba? Of course you have. We’ve all heard of Zumba. You know why Zumba is so popular? Because you do it in a big group of people who look just as silly as you do. Fact: Group exercise helps everyone do better.

If you already have a gym membership, the next time you visit, check their rosters for a running group. Most people find that having a dedicated time to run with others keeps them motivated. There’s usually a sense of camaraderie that develops among these groups that encourages each person to show up and show off. Since most gyms have an indoor track, it shouldn’t be hard to find a group that’s as repelled by the cold as you are.

Soon, you could be running marathons together! Well, when it warms up, anyway.

Get Back Outside!

I know, I know. It’s cold out there and you have little, if any, interest in getting frostbite. The good news is, I’m not asking you to risk frostbite. The bad news is, I’m going to ask you to put up with a little more cold than you're comfortable with. The better news is, it won’t be as bad as you’re thinking it will be.

The bottom line is that running is some of the best calorie burning, heart rate increasing, muscle-building exercise you can get. It also happens to get your body temperature up 20 degrees when you’re at your peak. The reluctance to run in the cold is understandable, but if you can push through those first few uncomfortable moments, you can actually end up warmer than you were sitting on the couch. Keep your body safe by wearing the appropriate gear to protect yourself from severe weather, but get out there and challenge your body.

This content was created by a member of the Stride Nation community, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Stride Nation's editors or SB Nation/Vox Media.

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