You need to stay physically active regardless of the season. However, it’s not always easy to find the motivation to get up and move around when it’s cold, dark, and gloomy outside. It might be tempting to curl up next to the fire with a good book and a cup of cocoa, or stay indoors and watch your favorite shows until the first signs of spring, but regular physical activity and exercise are essential in maintaining wellness. Here are a few tips to help you stay active and keep moving during the winter.
Fit physical activity into your daily routine
Take the stairs, park at the very back of the parking lot, go for walks after meals, walk to work, and walk to the store. According to the latest revision to Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans update,every minute of physical activity counts towards your daily and weekly totals.
Look for ways to be active indoors
- Find a gym or indoor sports complex that you can go to during the winter. If you enjoy running, look for an indoor track or treadmills.
- Try yoga or a spin class. A stationary bike may not be as much fun as riding a real bike outside, but the conditions are better in a climate controlled environment.
- Look for a new experience. Go to a rock climbing gym, or take the family to a trampoline park.
- Exercise at home. Calisthenics allow you to stay active without the need for weights or gym equipment.
- A family dance party in the living room is great exercise and great fun.
Brave the elements
Sometimes you just have accept that it’s going to be cold and dark while you exercise outside. Remember that you’re being active for your health. Regular physical activity allows you to maintain a healthy weight and it decreases your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can provide significant health benefits.Finding the time, energy, and motivation to exercise in cold winter weather can be a challenge, but regular physical activity is absolutely essential to good health. Your wellness is worth the effort! Click To Tweet
It’s important to wear layers when being active outdoors in cold weather. Start with a synthetic or wool base layer, then an insulating mid layer, and an outer shell for wind or water protection. Avoid cotton, which won’t insulate if it gets wet from rain, snow, or sweat.
Find group activities
Maybe you’re able to grind out your cardio just fine by yourself on a beautiful day when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. It’s too tempting to skip exercise when it’s pitch black and cold and the winds are howling outside, however.
Group activities make exercise fun and they help keep everyone accountable to stay active. Organize hikes, group runs, active games and sports, and other activities that can be done with others. Sign up for a class or club. Or arrange to meet up with friends after your solo workout, if group activities just aren’t your thing.
Get outside when it’s warm
Winter in Northwest Arkansas tends to be mild. Make a point to get out on warmer days when the sun is shining. Also, try to exercise on your lunch break. This allows you to take advantage of the warmest part of the day and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
It’s often dark before and after work hours, which can make exercise and activity outdoors dangerous. If you can’t squeeze exercise in during the day, be sure to wear reflective materials and highly visible clothing when you go out after dark.
People tend to think of dehydration as a summer problem, but you can get dehydrated any time and in any temperature. Stay hydrated while you exercise during the winter.
Warm up and cool down before exercise to prevent injuries, such as muscle strains.
Talk to your doctor about any health concerns, or if you’re uncertain as to what types of exercise are right for you. Meet with a MANA doctor today.