It has been a great winter for snow so far. And by great, I mean that we’ve had lots of it, although nothing like the huge dumps they’ve had further east. Hubby says that it’s been many years since we’ve had such an “old fashioned winter,” with so much great snow. He pays attention to stuff like that.
But despite all that lovely snow, it’s not been a great winter for cross-country skiing. And skiing was part of my winter “battling the post-retirement slippage” plan. See my December post for details, but the short version is that I was depending on being able to ski twice a week to meet my fitness goals. And that hasn’t happened. So it’s been a struggle to survive winter AND stay fit.
After I wrote that December post, we had a thaw and freezing rain and then a green (well, brown, actually) Christmas. This is the view from our waterfront on December 28. Geese coming in for a landing on the fast forming ice, or taking a leisurely evening stroll before bedding down for the night. And no snow, as you can see.
Then, some time after the New Year we had snow… beautiful snow.
But… along came the freezing rain on top of the snow. And we awoke to this. A highly photogenic icicle world. Lovely to look at, impossible to ski on.
And then we had a string of many, many days when the temperature barely nudged above -20 Celsius. Gorgeous looking, isn’t it? But way too cold for me.
Hubby skis when it’s -20 C, or colder, but not me. Not anymore. I’ve discovered that I have mild asthma which is triggered by exercising in really cold temperatures. Hence, when I cross country ski, I need to start slowly and warm up really well, otherwise my diaphragm tightens and I have trouble breathing. And skiing slowly in very cold temperatures means that my hands never warm up… and frozen hands are no picnic. I’ve tried hand warmers, but they don’t do much good, are hard to fit into my ski mitts, and mean that I can’t grip my poles properly. So I stay home until it’s -15 or warmer. Which means that I’ve NOT skied a lot this winter.
Of course, we had a wonderful week skiing in Quebec at the end of January. I wrote about that here. But all told, I skied three times in December, five times in January (mostly in that last week) and only twice so far in February.
Thank goodness for skating. I skate once a week with two girlfriends. I’m loving that. But the rest of my fitness routine has been my old faithful, aka my exercise bike, my i-pod and a good audio book. With a weekly weight workout or two.
Ah well, the best laid plans and all that.
And it’s not been all bad. I’ve increased the number of daily minutes I stay on my bike, and so I’ve managed most weeks to meet the goal I set in the fall of 240 minutes of cardio a week. If not the increased goal I made when I thought I would be skiing regularly. And there have been other…ah… compensations. Ahem. For me at least.
Let me explain. My husband is an early morning, get fifteen things done before breakfast, get up and go, kind of person. No throwing up his hands, saying “Oh well, too cold today,” and then (like moi) happily snuggling down in front of the fire with a good book for him. On those days when the wind makes it feel like -35 C and the snow is falling sideways, and it’s too cold even for Hubby to ski… he cooks.
Yep. I have to admit I’m beginning to look forward to a weather prediction of -30 temperatures and 40 km/hr winds. On those mornings, I often awaken to the sound of chopping and, when I straggle into the kitchen at 8:30 for my first cup of tea, there’ll be a big pot of soup bubbling on the stove. Or the makings for a tasty stir-fry all chopped and waiting for dinnertime.
Of course, I don’t sit around reading all day. I assist; Hubby calls me his “Sue-chef.”
This is Hubby cooking… in his ski underwear. I am on the sideline… awaiting my instructions.
We’ve also had a lot of fun collaborating in the kitchen. Looking for new recipes that are heart healthy. For instance,we’ve been using our bread maker to make whole wheat pizza crust, and topping it with Hubby’s homemade tomato sauce, artichoke hearts, avocado slices, kalamata olives, assorted veggies, and feta cheese. Yum.
You see the way I look at it is… if winter throws a monkey wrench into your “slippage” plans… you have to make new plans. That doesn’t mean giving up on exercising. Just finding something else that you can live with, until you can get back on track. The ski track that is.
And maybe, if you’re lucky, the situation will have unexpected benefits. I’ve read a ton of great books this winter; some of them in front of the fire while Hubby cooks, and some of them while riding my exercise bike. And Hubby and I have spent some lovely, “quality” time together in the kitchen.
So, we’re going with the flow, so to speak. Surviving winter. Staying fit. And staying sane.
How are you surviving the winter?


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6 thoughts on “Surviving Winter and Staying Fit… AND Sane.”

  1. Our UK winters are nothing like as severe as yours but I envy you the views from your windows . We still have some miserable spells of weather but our dogs don't seem to realise the weather is bad & still demand their walks . I might grumble when we set off but it's lovely when you get back & settle down with a hot drink . I rather like changeable weather – fortunately . Stay warm .
    Wendy in York

  2. I'd find that climate so very difficult — I don't do well at minus 10, never mind minus 20! Good for you for managing 240 minutes a week of cardio, so much of it on an exercise bike. That's discipline.
    I share your enthusiasm for the benefits of a husband who likes to cook!

    1. It's getting to be a bit of a drag now… but with a good audio book I don't mind riding the exercise bike too much. The cooking husband sure helps!

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