Motivate your muscles for a winter warm-up

by Beacon Staff • February 7, 2007

Freezing temperatures and frigid wind chills shift the focus from self-improvement to survival. Finding motivation to exercise may be harder than ever, but it is not impossible.,Now that February is here, slackers can celebrate. The pressure to stick to resolutions has faded, and the weather is partly to blame.

Freezing temperatures and frigid wind chills shift the focus from self-improvement to survival. Finding motivation to exercise may be harder than ever, but it is not impossible.

"It's tough, but every time I can't motivate myself, I get one of my buddies to meet me at the gym," said Joshua Hufton, a junior TV/video major who works out at the Emerson College Fitness Center (ECFC).

He said living off campus and having to walk to the gym can be a drag, but he stays committed to going with a friend five to six days a week.

"Once the plans are made, it's not easy to just forget about them," Hufton said.

ECFC fitness manager Shannon Peterson said she thinks off-campus students are the most devoted gym-goers. Although the fitness center does not have member addresses to confirm this, Peterson said she thinks many living on campus overlook the facility.

While the off-campus bunch may be hardier and more dedicated, they are also part of the post-January fallout in gym interest. Peterson said there were noticeably less people in the ECFC during the first week of February.

"It could be the cold weather; it could be boredom," she said. "With resolutions, [people] realize it's actual work."

To beat the cold and boredom, Peterson suggested spicing up indoor work-outs. "Variety always makes things more interesting. Try something new like joining a fitness class," she said.

For a quick fix, Peterson recommended a 30-minute workout that includes both weight training and cardio. She said it is important to maintain a good pace and work rate when exercising in short bursts.

Another way to stay motivated is by making fitness-related commitments.

"Set a goal, like running a road race in the spring. You'll have that hanging over you," Peterson said.

She added that regularly exercising with friends makes working out more enjoyable.

A more positive exercise attitude may also ease the pain of a workout.

For Lena Campagna, a sophomore marketing communication major and Emerson track and cross-country athlete, exercising is a normal part of her day. She said she mixes up her cardio workouts on the treadmill and elliptical by joining some fitness classes.

"I've done Pilates and spin, and they're fun," she said, smiling.

Weston Campbell, another ECFC regular, has a similar outlook. The junior TV/video major lives far from campus, at the end of the orange line, and still comes to the gym six days a week. "It's just something I do rather than something I feel I have to do," he said. "It gets your energy and your day started."

Peterson echoed the same praises about exercise. "If [people] give it the chance and go through the whole workout, it will make [them] feel better," she said.

Skipping a workout will not cure the winter blues. To beat the laziness of the season, exercise is the answer.

"It will get you motivated. It will get you going," Peterson said.