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How to stay active during the winter

The winter months are here and with that comes the cold weather, our favorite sweets and inside days. While summer is the perfect time to get outside, exercise and get on the move, the winter months might just be the opposite. Although it may be more difficult to get up and be active depending on where you live, it’s important to continually monitor your health even when it’s more difficult. In this week’s health journal, we discuss how to stay active and safe during these winter months and how we may have more options then we previously thought.

Activities & Tips

As discussed above, winter months and harsh weather make it more difficult to get outside to exercise or get to the gym. With this in mind, you might be searching for some alternative ways to stay in shape or just be looking for some fresh activities. Below are a few ideas and tips to help you stay active until we once again hit warmer temperatures.

Indoor Activities:

  • Stairs: If you have a two-story house or an apartment complex, then you almost certainly have a set of stairs that you can use for exercise. Running or walking down these stairs is a great way to get in an intense cardio or leg workout. If you want to take it up a notch, you might also try climbing two steps at a time or sprinting a few flights to raise the intensity even higher.
  • Indoor sports/classes: Now the options here might vary depending on where you live and your local COVID-19 protocols, but joining a local team or individual exercise program is another great option. A dance or aerobics class is a good way to stay indoors while also being in a group setting, which helps promote a desire to exercise and stick with it.
  • Home workouts: A quick YouTube search can help you find suitable indoor aerobic exercises you can complete from the comfort and safety of your living room. There are workouts available for those who have no equipment available, but if you have a jump rope, resistance bands or weights, there are options for you as well. The variety of videos and options allows for a great deal of variety to help keep your workouts fun and keep you coming back.
  • Active TV watching: TV time provides us an opportunity to sit back and relax, but it also provides us a chance to fit in some exercise. While the TV is on and you’re watching your favorite show, you can also get up and fit in some jumping jacks or pushups during the commercial breaks.
  • Mall walking: If it is too cold for you to walk around outside, try getting in a little exercise at your local mall. A nice walk around the mall, maybe two or three laps, is a great way to get exercise while also staying warm. You might also catch a great deal or two on some of your favorite items, so that’s another positive to look out for.

Outdoor Activities:

If you’re going to be outdoors this winter for your exercise activities, there are some tips for you as well. Whether you’re outside in freezing cold temperatures or , there are some precautions and activities you can try as well.

  • Ice skating: This is a fun activity that can be enjoyed by both you and your family. Ice skating is a very effective way to exercise since it causes you to use both your legs and core muscles to move around the ice. For extremely cold weather cities, this might be the perfect outing for your family, while also promoting a chance for fun and exercise.
  • Snowball fights: I know this might seem a little out of the box, but it can be a fun activity for the whole family. A good snowball fight is a great way to get in some light cardio during the winter with short bursts of running and dodging. The snowball fight will also require you to throw the snowballs, which engages your arms and core, making for a decent workout.
  • Shoveling snow: This is one of those things we often hate about winter, but as you might very well know, it can be a workout. Shoveling snow requires you to use a great deal of arm and core strength to move the snow by hand and shovel, so it’s a great way to get in a small workout as well. Knowing you’re burning some calories and getting in your workout for the day might make your next snow shoveling afternoon a little easier.

Winter Exercising Tips:

  • Use daylight hours: If it’s possible, we recommend doing any active outdoor activities while it is still light outside, but we recognize this is more difficult since days are now shorter. Being active during daylight hours will make things a little warmer and also provide you a better opportunity for help should an emergency arise.
  • Insulate your body: When heading outdoors in the winter it is best to layer up. Layering up provides the most effective way to stay warm and dry, while also allowing you to remove the top layer if you get too warm. The layer closest to the skin should allow for moisture to be wicked away. Try to avoid wearing cotton if possible since its tends to stay wet once it has become wet.
  • Keep your clothes on: Once you are back inside you may be tempted to change clothes immediately but it is recommended, if you are not wet, you wait at least 10 minutes to give your body time to adjust. Changing clothes too quickly after returning from outside may cause your body to lose heat too quickly and result in what is known as post-exercise hypothermia.
  • Drink up: With cooler weather we often forget that it is just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as it is in the summer. It is recommended that you drink water before, during, and after your workout to ensure your body continues to stay hydrated throughout.

Sources:

https://www.heartandstroke.ca/articles/11-ways-to-stay-active-in-winter

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/getting-active/how-to-stay-active-in-cold-weather

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/8-great-outdoor-exercises-you-can-cold-weather.html

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/8-ways-to-keep-fit-outside-the-gym-this-winter?page=2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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