What’s your plan for staying fit through the winter?

“I get out and walk when the weather’s nice; but I’m not going out when it is so cold”. I hear this frequently from my clients. My response is, “I get it, on a cold, gray day I feel more like curling up with a cup of cocoa and a good book than doing something active!! BUT, What ARE you going to do to stay active through the winter?”  After all, our body needs movement all year long if we are going to stay fit. Granted, it is downright dangerous to walk outside when it is icy, but if it’s just cold or rainy we can bundle up and go out. If that’s not going to happen, what can you do inside to keep moving through the winter? The current guidelines are for at least 150 minutes/week of moderate to intense physical activity each week. BUT, any amount of moving your body is better than none!

Physical activity is so good for us that if it were made into a pill, it would be the most prescribed medication there is!!! Here’s just a few benefits of physical activity:

  • Decreases blood pressure.
  • Increases healthy cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) and decreases dangerous cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglycerides.
  • Decreases blood glucose (Very helpful for anyone with diabetes)
  • Increases muscle mass, which in turn makes us stronger and improves our balance
  • Builds bone and helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Decreases pain from arthritis
  • Improves mood and decreases depression, especially when you are active outside!

Here are some ideas for staying active when you can’t get outside

If you have never exercised before, there is no time like NOW to start.

  • Start VERY SMALL! You’re not going to get to 150 minutes per week right away, and that is OK!—You are more likely to make exercise a habit if you allow yourself to do an amount you know you can do.
    • 1 minute per day of moving is a great start. Maybe you walk down your front walk, up and down the hall in your apartment building, or once around your office at work. If you own a piece of exercise equipment, at least “touch it” every day for a start!
    • Gradually increase over several months until you reach your goal. It is OK that this takes a while!
  • Tie exercise to something you do everyday, no matter what. This might be:
    • Right after you get up and use the bathroom each morning
    • Right before you make dinner each night
    • Right after you get home from work…..
    • If exercise is scheduled  for right before or right after something you do all the time, you are more apt to do it than if you just plan to do it “some time” each day.