Keeping your fitness on track when snowed in

WASHINGTON — A lot of us are stuck at home as the area digs out from under all that snow, but that doesn’t mean your fitness routine needs to suffer.

First of all, there is the obvious: For the able-bodied, some time with a snow shovel provides a great mix of cardio and weight training.

“Shoveling is one of the most exhausting physical activities that you can do,” says Janaye Dzikewich, with Medical Exercise Trainers in D.C.

But it is not the only alternative to time at the gym, the running track or the pool. Dzikewich says body weight training can also be effective, especially when combined with gentle stretching to counter time spent sitting around inside.

The moves are simple — squats, planks and push-ups. You can also do old fashioned jumping jacks; even housework, such as vacuuming, is a good way to get in a little extra exercise during and after a blizzard.

Dzikewich says a number of apps provide body-weight workouts — just be sure to choose one that focuses on proper form and follow instructions carefully.

She also says that if you’re spending time at home with your kids during the big dig-out, pull out that old Wii and play a couple of fitness games, or make sledding a family affair.

If you do end up spending a few days binge-watching television and being a couch potato, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just keep focused on your long-term goals, and get back on track as soon as possible.

Exactly how long you can take off before seeing a fitness loss tends to vary from person to person. Dzikewich says in general, cardiovascular training erodes after about two weeks off, while muscular endurance tends to slip after five to seven days.

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