Winter Fitness in Pure Michigan

On our blog today, Ashleigh LoVette from the Michigan Fitness Foundation shares tips on fun ways to stay fit during winter months in Michigan.

After the beauty of autumn fades into the first frost, many Michiganders settle into the season of hibernation: Winter. Although, it may seem dormant, the snowy season welcomes a whole new realm of possibilities to stay active. The only real obstacle to staying fit in the cold is proper clothing and equipment. Additionally, the beautiful state of Michigan provides numerous physical activities to turn even the grayest of days into a winter wonderland.

Frozen Family Fun

Winter is the perfect season to spend quality time with the family. The holidays already bring everyone together and the winter snow can provide physical activities for every budget. Look no further than your own backyard or local park. Going outdoors and enjoying the season can be as easy as sledding or snow tubing. Add some friendly competition to see who can make it both up and down the hill the fastest. Is your nearest park too flat for sledding? Try making a snow fort, snowman, or snow angel. Summer beach toys have multiple uses as molds for snow castles and other creations. Extend your family fun even further with a trip to try one of Michigan’s best sledding spots. These ideas are sure to keep you and your family moving, despite the drop in temperature.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Staying fit in the winter doesn’t always have to be a family affair. Walking can also be modified for the colder weather. This low-impact activity is also great if there’s risk of frostbite (temperatures around -20 degrees F, including any wind chill) or if it’s too icy. Sidewalks and trails aren’t the only places to take a stroll in the snow. Check with your local mall to see if they have a mall walking program. Malls are generally open before stores open and can provide a great way to get in those extra steps. No malls nearby? Ask local schools, community colleges and community centers if they have open hours for walkers.

Head for the Hills

For those who prefer a bit more action, Michigan allows you to experience great skiing and snowboarding without leaving the state. The fitness benefits of these sports include improved balance, flexibility, agility, and leg and core strength. Skiing and snowboarding provide endless fun for individuals of all ages. For information about ski areas in Michigan, visit www.goskimichigan.com.

Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside, when there are so many options in your own backyard. As always, hydration is crucial when exercising. Remember to stay warm by dressing in layers. The layers help to keep heat in and enable you to remove clothing as the workout intensifies. Keep in mind skin is still exposed to the sun’s rays during cold weather and the reflective effect of snow means that wearing sunscreen is still just as important as in the warmer months. So bundle up, embrace the cold and get moving!

Guest Blog: Shades of October

Today’s guest blogger, Megan Emery, discusses her spontaneous trip throughout Michigan. Have you ever taken a spontaneous trip?
It was spontaneous and last minute, “I heard that highway whisper inside, are you ready to fly?” I left at 4 p.m. on a Friday, and the sun went down somewhere around Grayling. When I saw the lights of the Mackinaw Bridge ahead of me, I got excited. Once on the other side, I headed west on M-2 with Lake Michigan staying to my left for miles and miles. The tips of all the pine trees and smooth pane of water were highly visible under the moon. Anyone who has traveled north of Clare knows that the tops of the trees are different once you reach a certain latitude. My headlights also illuminated enough of the branches to my right to distinguish that they were changing color but I ached to see them in the day.

I settled into my hotel in Munising around midnight. Early in the morning I glanced out the window facing the hillside and saw the “annual blaze of glory” – the fiery oranges, raging reds and loud yellows and practically giggled with excitement. This was why I came.

I headed first towards Marquette. I ate breakfast of an omelet and toast with amazing homemade strawberry jam. I drank loose-leaf Jasmine tea as the sun came through the thin opaque shade to warm my table at the Sweetwater Café. I wandered down to the harbor to watch the locals winterize their boats. On my way back east, I stopped off at every road sign turn out for the beautiful sights. Somehow the pictures I took did not compare to the view before me when I moved my eyes away from the camera lens. At one of these turnouts, there were sand toys near a small overturned boat with a wet t-shirt cast over the side to dry. It was resting in the sun on the shores of Superior but there was no one to be found.

Back in Munising I ventured to Miner’s Castle part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and then visited a flurry of waterfalls. On the walk to Miner’s Falls someone ahead of me was building piles of rocks. They were all stacks of three and in all different sizes. It brought to heart the purity of the woods in the Upper Peninsula and the silly possibility of elves in the midst. Wagner Falls was hidden at the end of a short path through the woods, the creek bubbled over the rocks from the woods at a slight downward angle on the right, but ahead a true and wide falls fell. The sound was magnificent but nothing compared to what I would hear in Paradise the next afternoon.

I continued to a bed and breakfast in Engadine for the night. After attending church with my innkeepers I stopped my truck so many times for photos on the road to Newberry that I thought I might not get to Tahquamenon before the sun went down – I did. But that is for another day.

Megan Emery lives in Galesburg, Michigan. She is a Chippewa and a Spartan. She is proud to live in this beautiful state and visits new places as much as possible.