Fit in the Fort

Fit in the Fort

published in Fort Wayne Magazine

Weight loss is simply a matter of numbers – you must burn more calories than you consume. Nutritional considerations aside, it makes no difference whether those calories come from a diet of tofu, bacon cheeseburgers, or grapefruit eaten while balancing on one leg and humming Barry Manilow tunes.

But consumption is another story or three entirely. Today we’re talking about fitness, the “burning” part of the equation, the part that makes it possible for you to (sometimes!) indulge in leftover ham, yams and fudge without feeling the need to hide in the pantry while eating them.

So while the weather outside may be frightful, there are any number of delightful activities in Fort Wayne to keep you buff, lean and mean through the bitter winter months. And when you feel the cold more keenly after shedding that extra “natural insulation,” simply reward your efforts with a slimmer new wardrobe of warm clothing, or perhaps some phat exercise gear.

Now put down the Harry and David chocolate cherries, visit your doctor for a once-over and pull on your sport socks. We’re dishing up 21 great ways to get fit in the Fort.

 1. Get off the sofa.
Do squats while you watch “Law and Order.” Squeeze in a few crunches during any commercials. Jump rope for five minutes every time the Colts make a touchdown. You never have to leave the living room.

2. Do the “Disco Duck.”
Return to the days of sweaty palms and mirror balls – spend an hour skating at the Roller Dome North or South. It makes for good glutes and great junior high nostalgia.

3. Shovel the driveway.
You know you have to anyway. Approach it as a phenomenal workout opportunity – bend at the knees, switch arms often, and please, check with your doctor first!

4. Pummel your neighbors.
As part of a friendly, good-natured snowball fight, of course. Just make sure they aren’t still mad about the leaves that blew from your oak tree to their yard earlier this fall.

5. Hit the happy trails.
Few things compare to cross-country skiing for sheer burn – of calories and in your muscles. Fox Island offers ski rentals every weekend.

6. Join a gym.
You knew it was coming. But gyms can be fun! Check out the rock-climbing wall at the Dupont and Jorgensen YMCA branches. Ease on down the road on a treadmill at Gold’s or IPFW while you catch up on your book club reading. Shoot some hoops at Spiece … a little trash talk can inspire a lot of hustle.

7. Feel the music, be the music.
Head down to Club Soda some weekend and let the jazz jams be your guide. Grab a partner on the dance floor and exercise your way into a little romance.

8. Head to boot camp.
Cardio Boot Camp, that is. Part of The Method series, this workout video requires you to drop and give the instructor 10, between kickboxing, Tae Kwan Do and lots of jumping. I found my copy at Ulta in Jefferson Pointe. You’ll sweat like a turbo ’Vette, but pain is gain in this case.

9. Or head for the hills.
The sledding is slick at Shoaff Park. It may be easy to get down, but hiking back up the hill towing a sled and a few tikes through the snow equals major time on the stair climber.

10. Put your plans on ice.
Gliding around McMillen Ice Arena is an excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon. Those of us who spend a lot of time picking ourselves up off the ice earn extra points for workout intensity.

11. Window-shop till you drop.
Join the power walkers at Glenbrook Square shopping center as they cruise the quiet mall. Tuck a credit card in your pocket and score big at the end-of-season sales when the stores open.

12. Protect your paint job, save your seat.
Parking reeaaaally far away from wherever you need to be serves two purposes: avoiding door dings while burning off those onion rings.

13. Hit the links.
The weather’s always fine and the course is always dry at the Golf Dome. Play a few rounds of miniature golf; those poor at putting will put in a few extra steps chasing their balls down the rocky inclines.

14. Show some class.
Belly dancing, martial arts, hula hooping … the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department offers the opportunity to pick up many valuable skills while losing unwanted pounds. Call for a class schedule.

15. Do good, feel good.
Spend less time sitting at the drive-through and more time supporting a cause such as Meals on Wheels. Choose an active role at your charity of choice – unpacking boxes or making deliveries, for example.

16. Get a head start on your spring cleaning.
Vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, wiping, mopping, and moving furniture can tax the muscles and tip the scales. Dial in your favorite upbeat radio station while you work and drive your heart rate through the roof.

17. Take a hike.
Walking through wet snow with a thick coat, heavy ski pants and clunky boots counts for something. A bonus: You instantly feel so much slimmer as you shed six layers of gear.

18. Huff and puff at the Plex.
Get your kicks with an indoor soccer league. The running never, ever stops, even when you think it must or you’ll collapse from sheer exhaustion, even when you beg for mercy …

19. Make a racquet.
Swing on over to Wildwood Racquet Club for a little love and some court-ordered exercise. Tennis, anyone?

20. Grab a dumbbell. (No, not your spouse.)
Dick’s Sporting Goods has a nice selection of weight plates and bars so you can customize your lifting, as well as hand weights for the as-yet less bicep blessed.

21. Sign up for a paper route!
There are several Jerod-style stories in the annals of newspaper delivery. Choose a walking route, perhaps at a nearby apartment complex, load up a satchel and bring home some spending cash.