Our five tips for staying active and healthy in winter will get you up and moving even when the thermometer doesn’t.
By: Helen Carter
It’s tempting to curl up on the couch with a blanket and read books, drink hot cocoa, and watch movies when the weather turns cold, but hibernation is not something we need to pursue, especially if we want to stay healthy during the winter and throughout the rest of the year. It is much better for our health if we maintain an exercise routine and healthy lifestyle year-round, and our five tips for staying active and healthy in winter will get you up and moving even when the thermometer doesn’t.
1. Bring the Gym to You
One of the main reasons people avoid exercise during the winter is the bitter cold weather and poor road conditions. Nobody wants to leave home just to slip and slide on the roads and climb over snow banks in the gym parking lot. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring the gym to you. There are several options for working out at home, from following online yoga routines, to streaming popular workouts on demand.
If you have established a good routine at the gym and want to be able to keep up with it at home, purchase some basic gym equipment that will help you maintain your routine. Making a home gym will help you stay on track to meet your activity levels because you won’t have an excuse for skipping a workout in winter. You don’t need to go overboard and invest in gym equipment that rivals the pieces found in the gym, though. Get the pieces that are essential, can be stored easily, and help you address each body part.
2. Walk Inside
If you really don’t enjoy cold weather, or you live where there’s too much snow and ice to get in a good outdoor walk, start walking indoors. Big-box stores typically welcome people to walk indoors, and senior centers often have walking paths marked on their floors to help you calculate your distance. Another option is to walk at a mall, school, or church. If you do choose to walk inside, consider getting a pedometer or fitness tracker so you can accurately count your steps and distance. Many people challenge themselves to walk farther when they use fitness trackers.
3. Play Indoor Sports
If you don’t like the cold or don’t want to travel to go skiing, consider joining an indoor sports league during the winter months. Many community centers and schools run basketball programs, volleyball programs, and floor hockey programs during the winter months.
Another option is to get involved in group classes at local centers. Some universities and fitness centers make their indoor swimming pools available for a fee during the winter. Just be sure these pools have taken the necessary accessibility precautions, if you have a disability. Dance centers frequently offer aerobics classes and dance fitness classes for adults over the winter, and many martial arts studios run winter classes as well.
4. Play Outside
If you have kids or young neighbors, you can see how much fun it is to get outside and play in the snow. Just walking in the snow is a good workout, but you can have fun while playing outside by making snow angels, throwing snowballs, and building a snowman. You also can go sledding or tubing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing to stay active during the winter months.
5. Adopt a Healthy Mindset
Many people opt for comfort foods during the winter months, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you eat well and stay hydrated instead. By adopting a healthy mindset, you’ll stay focused on taking care of yourself and sticking to your exercise routine. You’ll also be more likely to opt for healthy foods, water, and quality sleep, and you’ll make your exercise routine a habit because you won’t be eating heavy foods that make you sluggish and tired.
In fact, winter is a great time to eat healthy foods like pomegranates, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, potatoes, and winter squash. Not only are these foods easy to find in winter because they are in season, but they are packed with vitamins and nutrients that can boost your health and strengthen your immune system.
Don’t use winter as an excuse to hide under blankets with unhealthy foods. Decide that you want to be active and maintain an exercise routine and healthy lifestyle no matter the weather outside and you’ll be thanking yourself when spring and summer finally arrive.
About the Author:
Helen Carter co-created Selfexam.org after her friend’s sister received a cancer diagnosis at a very young age. Her aim is to offer support to those battling cancer as well as spread awareness on how to prevent this.
Image via Pixabay by rob9040