Chilling temperatures may mean mom coats, but lots of layers does not have to mean laziness. It is easy to contentedly revel in the warmth by the fireplace while watching snowflakes flutter outside, and such a reprieve is oftentimes well-deserved. However, too much rest is not beneficial to one’s mental or physical health. For those who do not enjoy ice hockey or basketball, it is reassuring to know that there are alternatives for exercise when temperatures outside are unbearable.
Walpole High School offers competitive teams for boys and girls ice hockey, boys and girls indoor track, boys and girls basketball, girls gymnastics and boys wrestling during the winter; yet, many athletes find themselves sedentary between fall and spring sports seasons as they are burnt out from fall sports.
Inactivity during the colder months does not only decrease athletes’ endurance, but can alter their moods as well. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects millions every year with symptoms of mood swings, general discontent, fatigue and insomnia. The endorphins released through exercise have been proven as key to both preventing SAD and combating it. However, such exercise does not need to be rigorous in order for it to be effective.
Hot yoga is one of the trendiest forms of exercise right now. Some notable celebrities who swear by yoga include: David Beckham, Jennifer Aniston and Lady Gaga. Although sweating profusely in sauna-like temperatures may sound unappealing, it enables one’s body to release toxins. Similarly, hot yoga temperatures make muscles more limber, which aids in flexibility and helps athletes to divert injury. Interwoven with physical health is mental health. Simply, the purposeful breathing involved in hot yoga—such as asanas—shapes healthier, even-keeled minds.
Firefly Yoga Studios has two branches just outside of Walpole, in Foxboro and Westwood, and offers a variety of hot yoga classes. The Hot Sunrise Flow class may appeal to early risers while Hot Vinyasa Flow and Hot Power Flow classes are geared towards yogis in search of a more demanding workout. For beginners, Firefly Yoga Studios offers 20 days of unlimited yoga for 20 dollars as well as a variety of class passes. For instance, a single class pass costs 18 dollars.
Yes, SoulCycle is on the expensive side, particularly because the company does not offer memberships. For that reason, one may only pay an occasional visit to SoulCycle if he or she seeks a challenging, yet energizing, workout. To “Book a Bike” costs 20 dollars for first-time bikers, which excludes the additional cost of three dollars for renting the bike shoes necessary to participate. Nonetheless, SoulCycle has become yet another facet of a social media obsessed culture.
Coined as more than a workout, the SoulCycle experience consists of candlelit stationary cycling with choreographed exercise moves that incorporate the upper body and core into cardio-based workout. Classes are fast-paced and full of energy, which is not for everyone. SoulCycle studios are plastered in mantras, such as “We aspire to inspire” and “We inhale intention and exhale expectation.” Perhaps, it is this community vibe that takes stationary bikes from dull to lively.
An under-utilized outlet for exercise is dance—an artistic form of cardio. Pure Barre deems itself as “The Best Full Body Barre Workout” with its small classes that allow instructors to foster purposeful, yet low impact, strength training. Barre classes originated from ballet, so the classes are centered around pointed toes and graceful motions; however, such classes also branch off into yoga, Pilates and strength exercises to yield a full body workout. Pure Barre claims that its classes are structured to improve the strength, agility and flexibility of all body types. In terms of affordability, Pure Barre offers prices comparable to SoulCycle. Legacy Place is a local workout destination for fans of both SoulCycle and Pure Barre.
Altogether, the winter blues may be a blessing in disguise as it gives people the opportunity to experiment with new modes of physical and mental fitness. For athletes with open minds, it is not difficult to stay fit as temperatures drop.