If you need a calculator to count how many times you've washed your windows this winter, or if you've caught that same pesky perch eight times, maybe it's time to try something else to stave off those cabin fever blues.
Even though the winter season is half over, there are still many outdoor activities you can take up without worrying about whether you can still pay your taxes.
One winter sport you might consider is cross country skiing.
This wistful art of gliding through the snowy trails of Minnesota, enjoying nature and getting exercise at the same time, is perfect for getting out of the house before another reality-based television program grabs your attention.
To help in your quest to try skiing, Pat Lanin, the Brainerd Warriors girls' cross country ski coach, has pointers to get you started.
Who better to get you on your way than Lanin, who has coached high school skiers for 31 years with five state titles and three protgs who competed in the Winter Olympics.
Lanin's first suggestion before taking on a 100-mile trek across Gull Lake is to get a physical.
"It depends on where you're coming from, your level of activity," said Lanin. "It's a little too late to get in shape for serious skiing, but if you want to try skiing you might want to get a physical checkup.
"If you've been working out or you've been an active person, that's a different story. If you haven't been active you may want a medical checkup to make sure everything is in working order."
If the doctor gives you the green light, the first step is to get equipment at an area sporting good stores. If you just want to try cross country skiing, you may just want to rent equipment.
There are some things you should know about equipment before taking that weeklong furlough on the Gunflint Trail.
"The one thing I see from people is their poles are too short," Lanin said. "Their poles are always too short. They're not much taller than walking canes.
"Poles should be up to about an inch or two below the shoulder. A lot of the shops sell poles that are too short. If they are too short they're more like walking sticks. They don't help you with your stride and help you get speed. They don't accomplish anything."
Another one of Lanin's suggestions regarding equipment is weight. Many times outfitters will sell heavy, more expensive equipment, but Lanin said beginners don't need heavy equipment. Another concern is clothing.
"People are grossly overdressed," said Lanin. "They have big, down parkas. Everybody that has done any running outside knows you don't need heavy clothes.
"Cotton is a terrible choice for winter clothing and definitely nothing you would want on your skin. It's like wet paper. It doesn't take moisture away from you.
"The synthetic fibers are really what are used in the active sport. Also, dress in layers. If you get warm you can take a layer off."
As far as skis, when you go into that store and you're bombarded with fancy colors and styles proclaiming to turn you into the Michael Johnson of cross country skiing, don't panic.
"What I would recommend for someone just getting started is a light-weight, no-wax ski," Lanin said. "If you really get into it you can get into the waxing. Most people don't go fast enough to know the difference.
"Then get boots. Most are high cuff and you can get a really decent boot to go with that."
Lanin recommended staying away from garage sales when looking for skiing equipment. If you have future questions about equipment, contact someone with skiing knowledge before breaking out a second mortgage on your house.
Another good idea would be to get a lesson as soon as possible. Many people at the Brainerd Arctic Ski Club are more than happy to give lessons. Lanin himself is an expert teacher of cross country skiing.
"Most of the people that are in the (Brainerd Arctic Ski) club are very knowledgeable on skiing and that really does help," said Lanin. "You're more efficient, you're moving easier and it's more enjoyable."
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