If only us humans could hibernate like other mammals, am I right?  How beneficial would it be to stop what we're doing for those cold and murky winter months to slow down and do next to nothing?  Unfortunately for us humans, we can't readily leave our responsibilities behind like other species can, so instead why don't we shift the focus on the opposite of inactivity?

If you're anything like I am, the winter represents a slowdown period, both mentally and physically.  After Christmas and New Year's, I'm usually left with a post-holiday afterglow, but also a blanket of pessimism that does little to keep me warm over these frigid few months.

So, instead of letting the funk of "seasonal depression" come back around once again, why not explore some of the options that this area has to offer in terms of combating inactivity?

If you've been out of the game for awhile and are looking to strengthen and condition yourself back into the fit person you know you are, Virtua's Sports Medicine team is here for you!

  • 1

    Curling

    This is an odd choice for sure, but while I was driving the other day I noticed a bumper sticker on another car that was advertising the sport in South Jersey.  It's sort of taken off around here, with clubs popping up all over from Mt. Laurel to the shore area.

    Curling's a confusing game to say the least, but anyone who's watched the Winter Olympics knows just how fascinating it can be.  While not as physically demanding as other sports, curling will still get you up and active in the cold.

  • 2

    Hockey

    The 1800s were formative years for ice hockey.  It began on frozen-over bodies of water, and continued on two centuries later, played everywhere from professional rinks to cracked suburban streets.  The game can be played really anywhere, with or without skates, and is one of the primary team sports, let alone in the winter time.

    Of course, hockey's a great way to improve your endurance and balance on the ice, but for us folks who aren't masters on skates, it's equally as engaging off it as well.

    Photo via Hamedog
  • 3

    Ice Skating

    If you're awful with a hockey stick, but comfortable on a pair of skates, you could always take up ice skating to stay active.

    Personally, I haven't stepped foot on a rink in roughly five years, and fell enough to know balancing on the ice isn't really my specialty.  For the brief time I worked at an outdoor rink in high school, I knew to stay far away to avoid embarrassing myself.

    Those more inclined will feel at home on the ice, and even with competition skating's reputation of being "feminine" the sport is still highly demanding and perfect for toning in the winter.

    Photo via Flickr user Benson Kua
  • 4

    Skiing & Snowboarding

    Snowboarding, originally called "snurfing" or snow surfing, quickly became one of the best known extreme winter sports throughout the late 20th century, leading up to its first inclusion in the Nagano Winter Olympic games in 1998.  Since then, it's peaked in popularity and unfortunately declined, but that doesn't make it any less challenging.

    Coupled with skiing, these are two difficult winter sports that require a great amount of balance and agility.  With an abundance of ski resorts in the vicinity you can take advantage of staying active with an exhilarating downhill ride is easier in the northeast.

    Martin Vorel