By Clara James
We have it hard here in the Twin Cities. Just as we make our new year's resolutions, it's too cold to get outside for exercise. Or is it? Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are all popular and great exercise. You can even ride your bike in the snow. Or try something extreme like snow kiting, riding across a frozen lake with a snowboard and a parachute.
And there are many ways to get fit indoors too. Beginners can try gentle mall-walking, and then there's inline skating, rock climbing, cycling, and plenty of other ways to be active indoors in the Twin Cities.
Many of us resolve to spend more quality time with our families. Try doing outdoor activities with children, like sledding, or inside fun, like visiting a family-friendly museum or attraction. Here's a list of free things to do in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and here's more free children's activities.
Minnesota Teen Challenge provides services to teenagers who have problems with alcohol or drugs.
Al-Anon and AlAteen are a network of support groups in the Twin Cities helping people who are being affected by someone else's drinking.
What's better value for money, and truly longer lasting? An experience creates memories that last forever, instead of an object that wears out. If you resolve to spend your spare money on doing things rather than buying things, Duluth is a center for outdoor recreation, and a weekend trip from the Twin Cities.
Chicago is a great place for a long weekend city break of shopping, museums, arts and sightseeing.
And if you can find a slashed-to-the-bone airfare somewhere further afield, we have Minneapolis-St. Paul airport right in the center of the metro area for convenient travel.
It usually doesn't cost anything, you'll probably meet some interesting new people, and you'll be making the Twin Cities even better. Local organizations need people with all kinds of skills, from computer work, to caring for animals, to repairing furniture, to driving, to teaching, to just being willing and able to help out.
Resources to find volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities,