Stay fit during the coldest months in Nashville


Claire Barnett

Snowy weather visits Vanderbilt on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Sarah Saxton Strassberg

A snow day can be stressful for those who rely on regular spin classes at the Rec Center or jogs around campus. However, a snow day does not necessarily mean that you’re snowed in. Whether you choose to brave the outdoors for your daily sweat session or remain indoors to sport your favorite running shorts, these eight workout ideas will help any gym rat survive the most brutal winter weather.

1. Online videos

When the hike to the nearest on campus gym is even more perilous than those intimidating barbells in the corner, online workout videos are a great alternative. For some videos, weights, resistance bands or a yoga mat may be needed, but for many, one’s body weight is sufficient. A personal favorite is fitness and health guru Christine Bullock, who has a series of free workout videos on YouTube, as well as workouts that are downloadable from her website, Evolution 20 (total of twelve 20-minute workouts) is $32.95, and Super Shredded (total of four 20-minute workouts) is $24.95. Bullock offers modified alternatives to difficult exercises as well as advanced moves.

2. Dorm stairs as a track

If jogging is more your speed, running up and down the stairs in your dorm is a fantastic option. The landings often have enough space for cardio bursts such as jumping jacks and knee pulls, as well as for deep stretches. One idea is to start at the bottom level and run all the way to the top of the building to warm up, stretch at the top level and continue to go up and down the stairs. Just remember to cool down, or you could risk sore or pulled muscles.

3. Do you want to build a snowman?

Building a snowman is a creative way to break a sweat while still having fun with friends. As everyone who grew up in a state with snowy winters, this activity starts off being easy but then literally snowballs into exercise that incorporates cardio and weight lifting.

4. Let’s throw snow

Snowball fights are perfect for competitive, mischievous friend groups. Vanderbilt’s campus is especially conducive to these melees because its numerous buildings, trees, bushes and sculptures can act as makeshift ambush spots and walls of protection. Snowball fights are a high-energy way to practice agility and speed.

5. Snow sports

Just because the temperature is low and snow covers the ground does not mean that football, soccer or any other game is off the table. This option is especially good when the snow is not fantastic for making snowballs or snowmen, but you still want to do a group activity with your friends. Make sure to wear shoes with some grip, such as winter boots, and bundle up with some extra padding in case you slip.

6. Zen walk

A hike across campus is a very simple and peaceful way for light-to-moderate exercise. You can go alone or with a group, perhaps even setting a museum, restaurant or coffee shop as your final destination. Add in a photoshoot or pit stops at interesting stores to spice up the trip or get some hot chocolate at Munchie Mart or Starbucks to keep you warm as you explore.

7. Lunch tray sledding

Sledding on cardboard boxes or lunch trays down campus hills is another great option for hanging out with friends that doubles as a fairly intense workout. Most of the exertion comes from running back up the hill while dragging a sheet of cardboard. Sledding down is more than worth the frantic scrambles up the incline afterward.