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indoor rock climbing

It's beginning to feel a lot like winter! With shorter daylight hours, and constant holiday get-togethers that offer an abundance of sweets and treats, it can be a challenge to find the motivation to stick with an exercise routine. We all know how appealing a treadmill is after that eighth cookie right?

This year, why not spice up your fitness routine with some alternative exercise activities? Trying something new can help keep you engaged and excited about burning those holiday calories. Take a break from studying at Himmelfarb, and try one of these five fun alternatives to hitting the gym that many of us avoid during this time of year: 

  1. Flying Trapeze

Did you ever dream of running away to the circus when you were a kid? You can make that dream a reality without actually having to leave DC. Take a flying trapeze class at Trapeze School New York Washington DC (TSNY DC). You’ll get to work on conditioning, body awareness, timing, trust, relaxation, and build self confidence all while flying through the air! You may even see the familiar face of a Himmelfarb librarian in class! 

Ruth Bueter, Himmelfarb Librarian, with a Set Gazelle Catch on the flying trapeze!

If flying trapeze isn’t up your alley, TSNY DC offers a variety of other circus classes to choose from including: silks, static trapeze, trampoline, lyra, spanish web, and even juggling! As an added bonus, you get to exercise in a real circus tent! TSNY is located at Navy Yard DC and is accessible via Metro.

2. Dancing at Glen Echo Park

If you’d rather keep your feet firmly on the ground, put on your dancing shoes and head to Glen Echo Park for an evening of dancing. Glen Echo offers a variety of dance opportunities including contra, ballroom, blues, salsa, swing, tango, and waltz. Dances are open to the public and no experience is needed. An introductory lesson is provided before the dance begins. Most dances include live music. Find a dance event that suits your musical tastes and dancing interest on the dance calendar! Keep an eye out for another familiar Himmelfarb librarian who has been known to cut a rug from time to time at the Glen Echo dances!

3. Indoor Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a great total body workout. Indoor climbing is a great alternative to traditional rock climbing during the cold weather months, and a great introduction to the sport for those new to climbing. Not only is rock climbing a great workout for your muscles, it’s also a fantastic mental workout to strategize your route to the top. DC area indoor rock climbing opportunities include: Vertical Rock Indoor Climbing Center (Manassas, VA), Sport Rock (Alexandria & Sterling, VA), Earth Treks (Columbia, MD; Crystal City, VA; Rockville, MD), and Climb YMCA (Cardozo neighborhood of DC).

4. Ice Skating

Ice skating can be a great way to get some exercise during the winter months. Not only does ice skating work numerous muscle groups, it’s a lot of fun and can be enjoyed with friends and family. DC has numerous outdoor skating rinks to enjoy this winter including: the Washington Harbour Ice Rink on the Georgetown Waterfront, the Wharf Ice Rink at The Wharf, Canal Park Ice Skating in Navy Yard, and the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink on the National Mall between the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art.

5. Holiday Light Walking or Running Tour

Want to get in the holiday spirit while logging those steps on your fitness tracker? Go for a walk through local holiday light displays like Zoo Lights, Enchant at Nationals Park, or Georgetown Glow. Or take a walking or running tour of DC Christmas trees. Notable trees to include on your tour could include: the National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and the Canadian Embassy Christmas Tree. While you’re on The Ellipse, be sure to check out the National Menorah. If you’d prefer to get those steps in while staying warm and cozy indoors, consider checking out the holiday train and plant-based recreations of landmarks at the U.S. Botanic Garden's Season’s Greedings exhibit. Or head to Union Station to see the Christmas tree and wreaths, followed by the indoor tree at the Library of Congress.

Want more ideas for spicing up your winter fitness routine? Why not try running snow sprints, going for a winter hike with a local hiking club, taking advantage of an indoor swimming pool at the Lerner Health & Wellness Center or one of DC’s indoor city pools, cross-country skiing, or escaping the cold with a hot yoga class? Or if you just need a study break during those long hours of studying at Himmelfarb, take advantage of our exercise equipment and board games. There are so many unique ways to stay fit during this time of year. Find one that you enjoy and add it to your winter routine this year!

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