There has certainly been a strange weather pattern across the United States this winter. Record cold, snow, and ice has permeated the Midwest, east coast, and the deep south. Drought continues in California during the typical rainy months, and here in southwest Colorado, it has been mostly warm and dry. In fact, there is no snow on the ground here in town which is very odd for late February. In March we may still get hammered by some big storms but the long term forecasts don’t show that right now. Active people are outside cycling and hiking all winter and not just on these 50 degree plus days. That is why Colorado is considered one of the most “fit” states in the nation. In Durango, fitness is just a year-round way of life. Next year I need to invest in winter gear that “serious” cyclists wear so that I can ride (and be comfortable) with my crazy friends when it’s in the 30’s. Thermal tights and a headband would be a good start. I encourage you to make it the same for you no matter here you live. My husband doesn’t ride outside but he walks our ever-increasingly slow Alaskan malamute twice a day. He spins on a bike inside watching the news or listening to music, uses an ab-roller and is committed to several hours of serious stretching each week. He says you just make do with what you have and where you are. My Sunday afternoon ride was sunny, in the 40’s, and beautiful to start. I must have had one heck of a tailwind because when I turned around at mile 20, there it was…the dreaded Durango Valley headwind. Fortunately, I found another cyclist hoping to take turns with me to get a break. I’m glad I don’t do triathlon anymore as it’s illegal to draft. If you are in an apartment or big city and there is no gym close by, invest in some inexpensive stretch resistance bands or an ab roller for minimal cost. Get some heavy hands or light dumbbells to use when walking outside. Add an exercise DVD or pull up one up on You Tube for free. No money or space for a cardio machine? No problem. Just circuit train with the minimal equipment that you have. Include a jump rope and allow little rest between sets (high intensity intervals) to keep your heart rate in your target zone to get those heart healthy benefits. There are always a million excuses why you can’t exercise. I hear people say that they don’t have the time or the equipment but perhaps it’s a lack of self-motivation or desire. I wish I knew the exercise and nutrition facts that I know now, years ago. Catching up is hard to do for an aging body but is well worth all the effort. So invest your time wisely, make it a fun routine, and a regular and essential part of your life. The rewards are priceless!