New York City Your Best Tool for Learning English

It’s pretty common for people to opt for inside activities as opposed to outdoor when the days get shorter and the temps get lower. I’m as guilty of this as the next person! The thought of layering up and bracing the wind, brisk temperatures, and other elements, is enough to convince to just say “eh, not today” and stay home where it’s warm and cozy.

For this very human reason, it’s just as common for most people to put on a few extra pounds once the winter months start to set in. Staying active outdoors is more difficult to do, as sports clubs tend to shut down, parks close earlier, and it’s often just too cold to enjoy outdoor entertainment. Plus, peoples’ schedules start to become more packed with holiday planning and family travel, which means there’s less time to hit the gym or sign up for those workout classes.

Especially after the first winter season of the pandemic, we’ve all gotten creative with how we can stay active this winter season, even if health safety is still one of our primary concerns. I haven’t had a gym membership since 2020, and while I do miss some of the elements of physically going in-person, I don’t miss the commute, the cost, or even having to work out in front of other people. I’ve learned to get creative with my fitness with the unique elements I have in my back pocket – or my backyard! Here are just a few ideas that you can take and adapt as it fits your own needs.

  • Stairs are your friend

Any other day, I typically hate the stairs, but now that we’re all getting creative with our workout plans, I’m realizing just how great of a basic tool these simple things are. Since I’m not commuting as much and climbing in and out of subway stations, I’ve decided to use the stairs in my apartment building as much as possible. Our building has an elevator, but if I’m not in a rush, I’ll use them to whiz down to grab my mail or take my time climbing them after running errands. It’s the perfect way to keep my heartrate up, and it’s also a decent reminder of how in-shape or out-of-shape I am. (These reminders are sometimes awful, aren’t they?) Plus, because of the elevator, not a lot of people use the stairs, so I feel like it’s a guaranteed private workout, which makes the whole concept even easier to digest.

  • Squeeze in “invisible” workouts

I made this up myself ever since I started working from home full-time and wasn’t going to the gym anymore. I started to notice that I was getting a bit “softer” around the middle and wanted to do something about it. Without establishing a disciplined workout routine at home, I pulled out some free weights, my yoga mat, and a few resistance bands. By keeping them out and within eyesight, I’d pull them out do some random workouts in between meetings. Instead of walking to my kitchen to get coffee, I lunge-walked. While watching TV, I’d workout my arms a bit so I wasn’t mentally focused on just the workout or the TV. This a great way to integrate some fitness into your day without the need of carving out designated time for it, which requires an entirely different level of discipline and dedication.

  • Take your walks

I know this one is super cliché and overdone, but I can’t express how much this simple activity helped me navigate the pandemic and clear my head. There were some days when I wouldn’t leave my apartment at all, and I began to go stir crazy. I’d go on a walk, and suddenly, the fresh air would do wonders for my head (both physically and mentally), and moving my body, even just for a half hour, made me feel refreshed, energized, and calm. And bonus: while on these walks, I got to see so many happy puppies, enjoying their own walks, too! Try taking a different route every day to keep your scenery fresh, and take note of all the new restaurants you see popping up along the way.

November unofficially marks the kick-off to winter – if you’re looking to stay active while we’re still navigating the pandemic and as the temperatures sink, listen to your body. It’ll tell you what it needs, what it likes, and how to keep it active. You’ll be feeling better in no time!

Category : Stay in New York

November really starts to bring in the cold front here in New York City. The days get shorter, the sun goes down earlier and earlier, and we close our windows tighter to make room for the inevitable change to turning on our heat. If you’re a new New Yorker or a veteran, you know that being outdoors is a necessity if you want to live here. Since most of us don’t have a garage here in the city, we spend a lot of time walking to our destinations or waiting outside for the bus to come. This means that you’ll be pulling up the forecast a lot more as a New Yorker compared to any other civilian in the country. You know to dress in layers because that 20-minute walk outside in the cold morning to the subway means that you’ll be sweating by the time you get underground. And maybe the subway car doesn’t have heat. Or maybe the subway car has heat but it’s packed, making the car feel like a sweatbox.

So while it make be below freezing outside, New Yorkers will go through various phases of “I’m freezing” to “oh man, I’m sweating through my scarf” in the span of just one commute. It’s annoying and sometimes it makes me wonder why I live here, but at the same time, I love it. Of course I do, right?

If you’re adapting to your English skills, a lot of these tips will help you as you navigate the beginning of the very long winter season in New York City.

  • Do your research

Are you planning an outdoor activity? Obviously get a very clear sense of what the forecast entails and plan accordingly. As an example, my feet get cold at almost any temperature, so I’m always layering several pairs of socks if I’m going to be outside for an extended period of time. Will the event retreat indoors? Dress with layers. I can’t stress this enough. Undershirt, shirt, sweater, scarf, coat – you’ll be surprised how often you get hot in the winter while out and about in New York City. So plan ahead! For those of you practicing your English, check your social feeds to see what others are saying about the weather. Ask your friends to join you on your winter fun excursion so you can put your English speaking skills to use.

  • Safety and health first

So this feels obvious, but we’re still in the middle of a public health crisis. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, it’s still important that you take care of yourself, use caution, and listen to your body. As we get closer to flu and cold season, mixed in with ongoing COVID diagnoses, now is not the time to take any chances. Get tested regularly, drink plenty of fluids, continue washing your hands, and always have a mask with you. We still want to keep having fun this winter season, and getting sick will only drag that fun down. If you’re new to a restaurant or bar, pull up their site to find out how they’re managing their property throughout the pandemic to put your mind at ease and to ensure that you’re going to safe destinations. Don’t forget to pull out your English words to help coordinate these events so you can feel more comfortable as an English speaker.

  • Watch your device usage

As winter begins this season, we’ll be using a lot of our gas and electricity, which can equate to more possibility of fire. I realize this is extreme, but it’s important to pay attention to. I’m always very mindful about what I leave plugged in, how tightly my windows are closed (so my heat isn’t disappearing), and that I don’t leave the stove or my burners on. Chances of fire are, of course, year round, but I just tend to be a little extra cautious this time of year. I become reacquainted with my building’s fire evacuation plan and ensure that I have all the emergency numbers programmed into my phone. Winter can be deadly for everyone, so it’s extra important to stay cautious this season.

Winter is not exactly my favorite time of the year in New York City, but it can be magical if you’re careful and attentive. Keep practicing your English so you can navigate any kind of winter-related emergency, but don’t forget to have fun! If you’re warm, safe, and healthy, the Big Apple is wonderful this time of year.

Category : Stay in New York