It’s winter time and it’s getting cold. It can be a dreary season for some, with more illness in the air and isolation to stay cozy. In the winter, it’s common to overindulge in comfort foods and exercise less. It’s a time of decreased motivation to focus on health and fitness.
But regular exercise is key to so many benefits. It will not only help to keep your weight under control but has shown time and time again to strengthen the immune system to resist bacteria and viruses. Moving your body can also fight against depression and anxiety. Here are some practical ways you can stay active during the winter months.
- Walk indoors at a local mall. Bring a friend! The mall is a great place to walk when the weather is bad. It’s accessible, free, non-competitive, and great for all fitness levels. You can also go alone, which can be a good time to think and attend to your mental and emotional health as well. Walking helps prevent heart disease and a variety of chronic diseases with just a few minutes a day.
- Get some fitness at home. Household chores, which may include vacuuming and scrubbing surfaces, can be just as effective as working out and the benefits may extend your life. Instead of bending over, do a functional movement such as a squat or lunge. Engage your core and keep your back straight. At home, you can also do some simple body weight movements such as squats, planks, or yoga stretches. Turn on a workout video from the comfort of your living room. Remember that the goal is just to get moving.
- Do indoor activities at your local gym or community center. Don’t let the cold prevent you from keeping up with your gym routine. Taking an exercise class can be inspiring because of the structure and motivation of others. You can also lift weights, play indoor sports, or swim in an indoor pool. These activities will help to improve muscular strength, endurance, and joint flexibility.
- Bundle up and take a walk. Dress in layers and get outside anyways! Once you start moving you won’t be that cold. The season often brings a few sunny, crisp days with beautiful sights to enjoy. If you like hiking, winter trails are typically less busy. When exercising in the cold, you burn more calories because the body works harder to regulate body temperate. The heart gets stronger by working harder to distribute blood throughout the body.
- Go do a fun winter activity! Cross-country skiing is a very effective workout that works both the upper and lower body. Snowshoeing is also a full body workout that gets the heart pumping and strengthens the legs. Sledding, snow tubing, downhill skiing, and ice-skating are some other fun activity options to plan for this winter. These activities are great outings for your family or group of friends.
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