Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 1, 2011. Information about fitness events have been updated to reflect 2013 dates.
Every year many Americans pack on a few extra pounds during the holidays. Over indulging on holiday ham, Christmas cookies and eggnog are great ways to add a few inches the waist line.
Another time honored holiday tradition is the stock resolution to "lose weight" or "exercise more" in the New Year.
Unfortunately for those looking to shed the holiday pounds or start the year off on the right foot, the holidays fall smack in the middle of winter, a time when the sub-zero temperatures make sitting on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate a more appealing venture.
Instead of falling victim to post holiday hibernation, try one of these fun ways to stay active over the holiday season and the first part of the New Year.
Cross Country Skiing
Waukesha's own Minooka Park offers three cross-country ski trails during the winter months.
The three loops cover six miles of "gently rolling terrain." The snow on the trails is packed for easy skiing and hiking is not allowed on them during this time.
"It's nice to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the elements," said cross-country skier Mike Young. "It's a great workout."
Maps are available at the park, and snow conditions can be found by calling 262-548-7800.
Join a Local Gym
Many local gyms offer New Year specials as people look at fitness goals for the next year. Check out local gyms here and give one a call to check out area deals.
Road races are a great way to have fun, compete and stay in shape during the winter months and year round.
Most races feature events of varying lengths to ensure the right fit for people of all levels and fun for the entire family.
The 6th Annual St. Joan of Arc Frostbite 5k takes place at 10 a.m. Feb. 23 in Nashotah.
Those with a more extreme taste can check out the John Dick Memorial 50K on Feb. 2 at the Kettle Moraine State Forest. For all those not familiar with our metric counter part, that's a 31-mile race in the dead of winter.
"Having a specific race or event gives you some extra motivation," said Robert Wehner, race director of the John Dick Memorial 50K. "It can be really easy with the cold weather to fall back, but if there's an event you want to do its easier to get out there."
Rounding out the season is the Trailbreaker Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K Downtown Waukesha. Starting at the Schuetze Recreation Center, the races run along the Fox River through frame park, with the half marathon continuing down the Glacial Drumlin Trail and the full marathon to the top of the Lapham Peak Tower and back.
BARRE Workout Classes
The Movement Center Pewaukee (formerly Pilates on the lake) will become the first studio in Wisconsin to offer BARRE workout classes.
According to the center's website, BARRE is a "fluid athletic workout specifically designed to strengthen and and lengthen, without the bulk" that is popular on the east coast, but has yet to establish a presence in the Midwest.
The classes are set to upbeat music and are influenced by classical ballet barre methods, pilates, yoga and orthopedic exercises.
"I like to think of it as pilates and yoga meet the (dance) barre." said Ronda Arndorfer, owner of the Movement Center Pewaukee. "It is a very athletic method, you're really working every muscle in your body."
The classes are taught in a group setting, but Arndorfer said they are extremely personalized and offer individual attention.
Who would have thought your favorite childhood winter activity could actually constitute as a work out?
Anyone standing at the bottom of Lowell Hill, that's who.
"It's a workout," said sledder John Kulich. "It's a workout on your legs, good respiratory, and it's fun for the kids ... it's fun for everyone."
Lowell also offers visitors a toboggan run. Open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, thrill seekers can rent a toboggan for $9 an hour, or bring their own and use the run for $8 a day.
With these options in mind, it should be easy to stay on pace to lose the holiday weight and have a healthy New Year.