U.S. Bank Stadium has brought the Vikings in from the cold, but this month will include a late-season trip to Green Bay for the third consecutive season.
Minnesota's players aren't too far removed from the Vikings return to the outdoors at the University of Minnesota (2014-2015) during the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings fared very well in the cold in 2015 with home victories against Chicago and the New York Giants and an NFC North-clinching win on the Packers tundra in Week 17.
That night, players who had benefited from heated benches and propane heaters on the sideline shed parkas and winter hats for T-shirts and baseball caps celebrating Minnesota's division title.
When the mercury drops, some players turn to various layers of cold-weather gear and don sleeves under their pads and jerseys, but some don't layer-up. Winter hats become quite popular while on the sideline, and some players even opt for face masks under their helmets.
There are clearly multiple ways of coping with the cold and staying active during winter months.
Here are seven ideas for how to stay active in spite of harsh conditions.
1. Walk on
Most of us can handle this one. Too icy? Don rugged footwear and consider popping a pair of traction devices over your shoes to maintain stability and better traverse slippery routes. Negative windchill? Layers are key. Cover exposed skin and stay safe by dividing time into two or three shorter strolls. Put one foot in front of the other and see where they take you. Recovering from an illness or injury? Head to an indoor mall for the warmth and level terrain, or jump on a treadmill and vary your pace as needed.
2. Go with the glide
Want to increase your energy expenditure? Click into a pair of cross-country skis and slide into a soothing rhythm that doubles as a killer workout. Check out the Three Rivers Park District for well-groomed trails in the western suburbs, from beginner to advanced, or scope out other options across the state.
3. Head for the hills
From suburban slopes to superior views, downhill ski and snowboard areas abound in our Northern neck of the woods. What we lack in elevation, we make up for in convenience and variety. From newbies to experts to terrain-park daredevils, there's something for everyone. Psst: Flying down a hill doesn't have to involve being strapped into equipment. Pop over to a nearby park or golf course (or your own backyard if you're lucky) and hop on a sled, toboggan or tube. The thrill of the ride down coupled with the hike back up will get your heart pumping in no time.
4. Ski-jor heart out
Are you as comfortable on two skis as you are on your own two feet? Up the ante, grab the pup, and try skijoring. Furry four-legged friends are fantastic motivators and excellent exercise partners.
5. Play hard to get
Bundle up and play a game of old-school tag — or even more appropriate, freeze tag — with the kids. Or gather some pals and find an open field for a game of touch football. Remember "fox-and-geese?" Make a big circle in the snow and then criss-cross two paths through the center. One person is the chaser (the "fox") and tries to catch the others ("the geese"). Stay on the path, or you're the new fox. (This one probably has all kinds of names and variations; get creative and add your own rules.)
6. Adapt and overcome
Take a traditionally warm-weather sport and make it work for you in the elements. Snow golf involves little more than a few clubs, some tennis balls and an open area (like a frozen lake). Indicate tee boxes and "holes" with spray paint, and get into the swing of it.
7. Get pumped
And sometimes there's just no way, no how, you're going out there. Gyms and fitness centers have gone from nice-to-have to a must-have on many lists, but the same-old, same-old can lead to all kinds of fatigue. Mixing up your routine with new classes or programs, finding a buddy to keep you accountable, or joining a training group are great ways to get more from your membership. And Twin Cities Orthopedics offers fitness classes at their Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Stillwater and Woodbury facilities.
Learn more about the various classes they offer and view the class schedule.