- Dear Abby
- Games & Puzzles
- Events & Exhibits
- Food & Drink
- Arts & Music
- Movies & TV
As we approach the coldest, darkest and slipperiest season, I find myself spending almost as much time in the gym as I do outdoors, and can’t help feeling a little guilty about using electricity to power the treadmill – it’s bad enough that I have to shovel down so much pasta to keep the legs moving.
I still enjoy long runs on country roads –friends and I have loped together for 10, 12 and 15 miles on the last few Sundays – but the experience loses its charm when ice coats the pavement and drivers splash slush in your face.
Normally, as far as I’m concerned it can never be too cold to run and I’ve bundled up when the temperature has dropped as low as 20 below zero. I’d rather be out in those conditions than in the triple-digit heat and humidity of August.
Still, there’s something to be said about running in shorts and a T-shirt, even if you feel like a hamster.
Some of my fellow gym rats watch the tube, listen to music or even read, but I’m one of those people who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time so I stare straight ahead like a zombie and try not to fall off.
As for bicycling, rolling along on the open road when it dips below the teens is brutal, especially into the wind, so until March or April I’m more inclined to pedal on a stationary bike.
Swimming? Fuhggedaboutit. A friend and I took a quick dip in the pond after a run on Dec. 1 just to say we did it, but I don’t think we’ll be going for long swims again until April – except in a pool.
Unlike running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike, swimming in a pool can be a hypnotic experience induced by staring endlessly at the black lane marker, with no distractions except having to turn and kick off the wall every 25 meters.
Some of my kayaking friends use the pool during winter to practice Eskimo rolls and high braces, but I skip those sessions. As long as it’s not too windy or choppy I’ll paddle year-round, and recall one memorable voyage a few years ago with a couple of enthusiasts so crazy, even by my standards, they performed rolls in Long Island Sound when the air temperature dropped below zero and a breeze kicked up to 15 knots.
Takes all kinds.
Happily, there are quite a few activities that you can only enjoy in winter: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating.
It’s also prime time for wood splitting, when frozen logs pop apart at the first strike of a maul.
I have a whole stack waiting next to the woodshed.
No need to lift weights in a gym; a few hours a week with a wedge and sledgehammer provides all the upper-body workout you’ll need.
Best of all, there are no bugs.
Yes, it’s nice to hit the gym now and again, but why live in New England if don’t venture out in snow and ice?
Still, I can do without the slush in the face.
After tramping more than a month some 700 miles along the fabled Continental Divide Trail, Mystic native Hilary Sueoka and her boyfriend, Dan Stedman, who started hiking April 22 at the U.S.-Mexican border, finally rambled from the...
By the time Phil Warner and I hit the water in his lightning-fast tandem kayak last Sunday for our team’s leg in the Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon in Lenox, Mass., we had already spent a good part of the morning lugging gear...
Three cheers for the Obama Administration’s decision this week to officially restore the name of North America’s tallest mountain to Denali, which is what early inhabitants called the 20,310-foot peak in the Alaska Range.
I can never remember – do you apply facial cleanser before or after the exfoliating scrub, and then finish up with healing balm and moisturizer, or should you start with the scrub, work your way through the cleanser and then top...
The international outrage sparked by an American trophy hunter’s killing of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s beloved lion, justifiably vilifies the despicable practice of slaughtering wildlife for sport – but it also exposes the human...
"Head for that tree stump," I instructed authoritatively one afternoon earlier this week, as if I knew for sure where we should be heading. I have learned to exude confidence when giving directions on any expedition, even...
When internationally celebrated speedster Scott Jurek scrambled last Sunday to the 5,269-foot summit of Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, he broke the record for the fastest assisted hike of the 2,189-mile...