Winter: the time where the weather gets 10 times colder and your cozy bed gets 10 times cozier. Peeling one’s eyes open when the alarm clock blares in the morning is as difficult as it can get in these bitter cold months, and the thought of adding a workout to one’s morning routine is enough for even the relentlessly dedicated fitness girls to roll back over in bed and pull the covers over their faces.
According to healthguidance.org, 58.9 percent of American adolescents (5th through 12th graders) engage in the appropriate amount of physical activity per year, but that value is nearly cut in half during the winter months.
Marian girls were able to support this evidence. Based off a Network google survey 274 girls completed, 61.6 percent of girls stated that they exercised regularly. Nebraska’s brutal winter has an effect on one’s motivation to exercise, though, and 67.9 percent of girls admitted to experiencing this. Many girls contributed their lack of motivation to laziness and food, but the overwhelming majority attributed it to the cold weather.
Junior Emilee Braun works out a few times a week and blames the freezing weather for her lack of motivation to workout in the winter.
“I like to run outside when I get up in the morning, but it is so cold in the winter. I can barely stand walking up the [soph lot] hill at Marian, so there’s no way I can run outside,” Braun said.
The only hope of getting many teenagers out of bed to workout in the winter is New Year’s resolutions. Student Success Coordinator, Mrs. Jennifer Christen, teaches Jazzercise and notices a major increase in attendance immediately after the New Year. The surge typically lasts until mid-February, but then classes return to their typical 15-person class size.
Freshman Meredith Mueller is adamant about working out and typically exercises five to seven days a week, but like many others, finds it difficult to workout in the winter because of the weather.
“This year I have a New Year’s resolution that has to do with living a healthy lifestyle and working out. It helps to hold me accountable because I’m always thinking about eating healthy and doing more in the back of my head,” Mueller said.
Christen agrees that motivating yourself to workout in the winter is difficult, but like many others who exercise regularly, she preaches that staying active is the best way to get yourself to work out.
“Exercise is huge on your mood. It helps release those endorphins which are extremely valuable. Even when you have no motivation to work out, working out is exactly what is going to make you feel better,” Christen said.
Jazzercise’s corporate headquarters in California have realized it is a necessity to get teenage girls to start working on establishing healthy life habits. They have created a program that many Omaha Jazzercise studios are participating in known as Girl Force.
Participating studios are offering free classes for all girls ages 16-21 for the entire year of 2017 in an effort to show young girls that Jazzercise isn’t just for moms, and working out is not only good for us, but can be fun too. “It’s about more than just working for your summer body,” Christen said, “it’s about working to create a healthy lifestyle.”
Jazzercise may not be for everyone, and there is a multitude of other fun workout programs in Omaha or even from the comfort of one’s bedroom. Fitness Blender is a website that provides its supporters with hundreds of free, full-length workout videos ranging from pilates to intense cardio.
Each video includes step-by-step instructions and quick facts about the specific workout you’ll be completing, such as the amount of calories burned, what muscle groups are being targeted, level of difficulty on a scale of one to five, and time duration. At the end of each video, Fitness Blender suggests other videos to pair with the workout you just completed and works on making your profile specific to your personal fitness preferences.
“I really enjoy exercises that focus on my core and legs, along with weight lifting. Because it’s cold outside, I do like doing online workouts in my basement. Then I don’t have to leave my house, but I’m still working on getting in shape,” Mueller said.
No matter what your personal workout preference is, countless programs are available to accommodate your specific style. Learning to live a healthy lifestyle is essential to living a long life filled with happiness and is achievable through any type of workout.