Keeping exercise in winter's routine

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While winter is just starting, there is no doubt that our cold, wet days this fall have already left many of us in the fitness doldrums.

If shorter, damp days make you want to hibernate, what can you do to keep your exercise and activity from slowing to a grinding halt?

For many, finding the motivation, money, and time to get to a gym with any consistency isn't realistic. In that case, give your video player a try.

There are hundreds of different fitness styles and routines for rent or sale. Spend 15 minutes online finding one that suits you.

Fitness videos vary in intensity, complexity, and required equipment -- such as hand weights, steps, an exercise ball, and elastic bands. Some require no equipment, just a willing body.

While intensity of the workout is certainly a factor of improving your fitness, keep in mind that if the workout feels like torture to you, it's likely the DVD will be forgotten and collecting dust sooner rather than later.

There are those who link their fitness to walking on a treadmill during the cold, wet months. While that is a good start, please remember general activity is only part of the equation. What are you doing for your body's strength?

Strength training to preserve your muscles and bones, including your trunk, shoulders, arms, and upper back, should all be part of your fitness plan no matter how simple.

If the idea of using a fitness video is not your cup of tea, purchasing an exercise ball and/or a few elastic resistance bands can go a long way in your quest for maintaining or improving your health. Most come with an array of exercises to get you on your way.

Finally, whatever your exercise, tape up a reminder in a place that you see every day, and place a check mark for each day of the month that you participate.

Don't let the weather keep you down. Take care of you!

Greg Davidsonis a physical therapist at The Vancouver Clinic at Salmon Creek.