Are you feeling drowsy in front of the television, with a blanket pulled up to your chin, counting the days left in January and February?
Curse hibernation. Confound inertia. Go outside. Feel the bite of winter. Explore a frozen trail near you … on skis.
Cross-country skiing is a good wintertime substitute for jogging. The gliding motion is easier on your joints than running, fitness experts say.
According to the website for the New Hampshire-based Cross Country Ski Areas Association, Nordic-style skiing burns an average of 650 calories an hour, more than cycling and power walking, and it gets you outside during winter months.
“It floods the body with a feeling of well-being, greatly improving one’s mood,” according to the Cross Country Ski Areas Association. “… The scenery changes every outing unlike a fitness center.”
Buying your own gear — skis, boots and poles — can cost you a few hundred dollars.
Village CycleSport, at 203 W. Northwest Highway, Barrington, offers a $20 day rental and a $50 weeklong rental.
• Hoffman Park, at Main Street and Georgetown Drive, is 265 acres of farmland and oak forests, mostly flat with rolling hills that are not too steep. You can ski next to the walking path or take off across the cornfields if the snow is deep enough.
• Kaper Park, at Georgetown and Cimarron, is also flat and easy to negotiate. You can get a quick thrill by sliding down the storm-water basin.
For the more experienced:
• Fel-Pro RRR, 1520 Crystal Lake Ave., in Cary, consists of more 200 acres, and is located across the street from Cary Junior High School.
• The Hollows Conservation Area, 3804 U.S. Highway 14, in Cary, is 338 acres and has nearly 6 miles of trails. This former gravel mine has more than a few steep hills that beginners may want to avoid.