Some tips for shedding winter weight that don’t require fad diets

ThinkstockPhotos-450746249Hard time keeping your hands out of the cookie jar this winter? Polish off those last few Oreos then set your sights on spring with these easy-to-integrate activities that’ll have you sweating and shedding in no time.

Train for a race. A few weeks ago I decided for the first time to compete in a half-marathon. My gym was advertising the event, so I signed up for a 12-week, increasingly rigorous conditioning regimen that I could follow to get into race-ready shape. I’m nearly halfway through the program and I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a goal yet. This may be an intimidating feat for some, but it’s absolutely achievable if you commit yourself to it. To help yourself stay on track, invite a friend to join the race with you; you two can work out together and provide support in times of doubt and fatigue.

Take new classes at your gym. If you already belong to a gym but your routine has lost its luster or you’ve just slacked off because, well, winter, get back into the swing of things by trying something new. Personally, I’m not always a self-motivator when it comes to exercise, so I benefit from the group classes that my gym offers (which at most gyms are included in the regular membership), and the same strategy may work for you. Visit your facility’s website to view the class schedule and register for one or two that appeal to you. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

Accept challenges on your fitness tracker. One of the cool ways I’m ensuring that I meet certain fitness goals I’ve set for myself, like on my Fitbit fitness tracker, is to accept and extend challenges between friends with whom I’m connected on the device. Turning the wearable into a little friendly competition is fun, and I push myself a little further every day.

Incorporate exercises into your chores. Sneak in squats while you’re vacuuming the steps, bang out a few pushups when you’re putting storage items under the bed, and do a few curls with your grocery bags from the car to the house. It’s easy to turn mundane chores into mini-exercises to keep your muscles moving.

And instead of hiring a handyman or gardener to tackle items on your spring-cleaning to-do list, try your own hand at what you’d normally farm out. If you’re capable of cleaning up the yard and laying your own mulch you should be doing it yourself anyway, but at least now you’ll get a decent tan and save a couple hundreds bucks while you’re at it.

Join a social sports league. I’ve been part of a social sports league in some capacity for at least the past 10 years — and I can’t sing the praises of these groups enough. I’ve been a member of kickball, dodgeball and cornhole teams in the past, and currently I play on a couple bowling leagues and a shuffleboard league. I’m certainly not getting buff on these leagues, but they still keep me moving (some more than others), and they’re a great way to dust yourself off, get your blood pumping and make a few new friends as the cold weather makes way for sunshine and warmth.

— Mikey Rox

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2016.