Taking it inside

As colder days and earlier nightfall give way to freezing temperatures, slippery snow and numbing winds can kill motivation for even the most hard-core exercisers.

Instead of hibernating, fitness experts say that transitioning now to indoor workouts that challenge your body in different ways can lift spirits while maintaining sports performance and base-line conditioning until spring.

Use these tips to keep up with exercise despite the cold:

Change workout time: Switch workouts to lunchtime if it's too dark for a morning or evening run.

Change up your measurements: In the summer, if you measure for distance, try measuring for time instead.

Try a new indoor activity: Try indoor climbing or spinning classes at a fitness facility.

Cross train: If you are playing tennis, running or cycling in the summer, try weightlifting, yoga and Pilates in the winter - on your own or with an instructor and group class.

Take live workout classes from home: Sign up with a program such as physiic.com, where instructors teach yoga, Pilates and strength training classes in real-time online. Add a webcam and instructors, and students can see one another working out.

Exercise with a group: Group exercise classes have evolved to more than just high- or low-impact aerobics, says Joe Quatrochi, a professor at Metropolitan State College of Denver who specializes in adult fitness and exercise science. Boot-camp workouts, Zumba and CrossFit programs add variety and camaraderie, and require virtually no equipment.

Active video games: Xbox, Wii and other gaming platforms can offer challenging workouts that rev up the heart rate through dancing, jumping and other physical movements. It's a good way to make exercise a family event, and multiplayer challenges boost competitive natures.

Study a martial art: Progressing through levels and gaining new belts or titles can help participants develop long-term goal setting.

Join an indoor sports league: Sports like basketball and volleyball easily transition indoors. Scott Anderson, 52, plays volleyball outdoors in the grass during warm weather. But in the winter, he and other players move their game to an indoor gym court.

Enjoy cold-weather activities: Skiing, snowboarding, hockey and ice skating can add variety and challenge major muscle groups. Take a class with a professional first.

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