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Staying In? Stay Active

Healthy Lifestyle

Baby, it's cold outside

This time of year, many of us have a tough time staying active due to the cold weather. It’s too cold to go outside and easier to stay in, wrapped up in your blanket and eating comfort foods to keep you warm. 

But as cozy as that sounds, it’s very important to stay active during this time of year, as it is every season. 

The importance of staying active

There are many activities you can do indoors to keep you warm, avoid losing strength and endurance, as well as help you avoid gaining weight over the cool season. A proper warm-up is critical, as stiff and cold muscles make you more prone to injury. Simple things like jogging in place, riding a stationary bike, brisk walking on a treadmill, or doing jumping jacks are great warm-up activities. 

Here are some tips for exercises you can participate in, regardless of the temperature outside: 

  • Find an indoor location to walk. Join a walking group at an enclosed mall or find some friends to help you stay accountable. 
  • Get a Fitbit or activity tracker. This will help you see your progress and it’s a fun way to stay motivated to work on calorie burning or increasing your daily active minutes. Fitbit also allows you to join with friends and do weekly challenges to keep you moving. 
  • Join a fitness club. Gyms often have senior rates and special rates during the winter months. Most offer a variety of classes and fun things to do to get moving, meet new friends, and make working out fun. 
  • Hire a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help create some safe workouts during the winter months. The extra motivation can make all the difference. Investing in a trainer can also make you more likely to stick with it. 
  • Find online workouts. Many free or low cost apps can help keep you moving. You can also log on to YouTube, purchase DVDs or check out videos from your local library to work out in the privacy of your own home. 
  • Set a new goal. Sign up to do a fundraising 5K walk or run. This will give you an event to train for and you will be more likely to keep working hard knowing that is in the future.
  • Find an accountability buddy. Surround yourself with like-minded, motivated people to keep you motivated and push each other to do your best. If you need more support, join a Facebook or social media group with others who will encourage you and support your efforts. 
  • Get outside and get some sunshine. If only for a few minutes, enjoy the fresh air. It will give you a boost of energy and the sun will give you some Vitamin D, too. Exercising outside is more challenging but can be healing for you as well, decreasing stress hormones. The key is to dress in layers when you do go outside. The top layer should be wind and water resistant and the layer closest to your skin should allow moisture to be wicked away. You can always take off a layer if you get too warm.
  • Create your own home gym. You can easily start one of your own with dumbbells, jump rope and an exercise ball. 
  • Climb those stairs. Get a stair workout in for a good high intensity cardio and lower body workout. Go at your own pace or as you get fit, you can take two steps at a time.
  • Join a senior center. Many of them off not only exercise programs but some may also have equipment onsite for members to use. 
  • Play video games. There are many that allow you to get active in your own home. You may need to enlist your grandkids to help with this, but there are activities like bowling and tennis that can be a lot of fun and keep you active. 
  • Drink your water. You may not feel as thirsty, but you still need to stay hydrated. Hot tea is great to drink and will go toward your daily water requirement as well as keep you warm. 
  • Keep a food journal. Be conscious of your dietary intake to help you lose weight and keep the weight off in the long run. 
  • Use your grandkids and family as motivation. Keep them in mind and know that having a healthy, fit lifestyle will allow you to be around for them for years to come. 

The cold weather during winter is not a good excuse to be sedentary. No matter what the temperature is outside, just keep moving. Before you know it, it will be warm and sunny outside, and you can be satisfied knowing that you feel healthy, well and fit. 
 

Brenda Herrod

About the Author:

Brenda Herrod is a board-certified women’s health nurse practitioner who is passionate about inspiring and sharing her healthy lifestyle with others.

She is also an AFAA Certified Personal Trainer, C.O.P.E. Certified Health Coach, and Precision Nutrition Health Coach working with employees at Methodist Health System.

See More Articles by Brenda Herrod