Here’s a topic that always comes to mind at this time of year: staying active in the winter. There’s something about hibernating, hiding out of the cold that sets up our bodies for staying inactive. We’re all guilty of not staying active enough in the winter – or letting our activity levels drop. Somehow, during this season, we forget that exercise is just as important in winter as it is in summer!
Enjoy the scenery
While most of us don’t enjoy shoveling or moving snow, it does bring a tranquil element to the outdoors. Adequate amounts of snow make for fun activities such as sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Sledding is a fun activity that gets everyone outside. Kids will love the thrill of sliding down hills on a sled, while adults can enjoy some competition with their kids. Sledding hills can be found in most parks and limited equipment is needed. If you have a hill to use, then take advantage of it! It’s also important to remember that sledding is not just for kids; adults can have just as much fun on one too!
Cross-country skiing provides many of the same benefits as other aerobic exercise activities such as cycling, running and swimming. For example, cross-country skiing can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance, balance and coordination. These are all important factors when it comes to improving your overall health and reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
In addition to providing physical health benefits, cross-country skiing can also help improve your mental health. The physical activity associated with this sport has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve moods by increasing endorphins in the body that make people feel happy. In addition, being outside in nature can help clear your mind and reduce feelings of anxiety or depression.
Snowshoeing is another great winter activity that involves getting out into nature and enjoying the peacefulness that comes with it. This winter pastime allows for exploration of new places because you don’t need to worry about hiking trails being covered with snow or ice. Snowshoeing is suitable for everyone – young children who want to explore their surroundings, elderly people who want an easy way to get around without breaking any bones from slips or falls, and even those who simply enjoy being outside. Don’t worry about buying new shoes or skis; most recreation departments rent equipment needed for winter hobbies. Renting what you need gives you the chance to try these activities and make sure you enjoy them before purchasing your own equipment.
Relocate outdoor hobbies indoors
Another way to stay active in the winter is to move your favorite warm weather activities to indoors. Depending on intensity preferences, indoor activities could include basketball or pickleball, or they can be low-impact and moderate such as walking or water aerobics.
If you enjoy walking in the warmer months, find an indoor walking track to get some laps in and blood pumping. Be sure to bring along your headphones to listen to music or your favorite podcast. Walking is also an excellent form of exercise for people who have physical limitations or other conditions that make it difficult to do more vigorous exercise. The ADA recommends everyone should be active every day for at least 30 minutes — preferably longer — at a moderate intensity level (such as brisk walking). If you’re just starting out with a walking program, start slowly; gradually increase your pace over time to increase the benefits you get from walking.
What’s better than a cool pool in the summer sunshine? A warm pool in the middle of winter! Water aerobics is great for all skill levels and is a good way to stay active in the winter. It’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends.
Water aerobics can be done by anyone, regardless of age or physical ability. It’s a low-impact exercise that uses the resistance of water to build strength and improve flexibility.
Water aerobics is beneficial to those who suffer from arthritis as it helps relieve pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis. The buoyancy of water reduces stress on joints and makes movement easier. It’s also useful for people with other joint problems, such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and sports injuries. Don’t rule out swimming or aerobics when the snow flies; a pool is a great place to keep moving all year round.
Short on time? That’s okay! Exercise snacks allow you to still increase your heart rate throughout the day, without having to find hours of time to do it.
Nothing fancy, just move
You do not need to buy the latest and greatest exercise trend to start moving! What resources do you already have that you could better utilize? For example, walking shoes still in the box, a treadmill gathering dust, or a yoga mat rolled up in the corner. Choose the type of movement to incorporate into your day and remember to check out YouTube or free fitness apps for fresh ideas. The most important thing to spend time doing activities you enjoy.
Winter doesn’t have to mean sedentary living. There are plenty of ways you can stay active both inside and outside your home in the colder months, and these tips will help you do just that. No matter how much time you spend inside, get creative with snowshoeing and sledding, or find some way to create a workout space in the warmth of your home. After that, all you’ll need is motivation—and everything else is out there waiting for you.