Winter can bring about feelings of coziness, sadness, and hibernation and it’s natural to want to slow down. The colder months of the year can leave most of us feeling sluggish and lethargic, but it’s important to stay as active as possible.
There are demonstrated benefits to prioritizing movement all year round. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do to improve their health.
Exercise can help you manage anxiety or depression, improve your sleep, aid in maintaining your overall physical well being and can help lower risk of some types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. There is even some research that suggests physical activity can help boost immune function.
During the winter months, the available daylight hours are shorter, and the weather can be colder. These factors can make it more difficult to find appropriate times to get in your usual outdoor activities. No matter how you get them, doctors recommend that adults get at least two and a half hours of physical activity each week.
We’re here to share some ideas for keeping movement in your weekly routine.
When you choose to take your movement outdoors, be sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing to keep you comfortable in your local climate. Utilizing layers of clothing will allow you to adjust your outfit as you get warmer to prevent overheating.
It’s easier than you might think to work extra physical activity into your normal daily life. Vacuuming the rugs, sweeping the floors, folding laundry, and many other chores all count toward your daily movement goals. Don’t underestimate your daily routine!
Look for opportunities that allow you to lend a hand to others while staying active. Consider walking dogs for neighbors, offering to shovel snow, or even packing food at a local food pantry. Not sure where to start? Try a Google search for volunteer opportunities in your local community or check in with your neighbors to see if they have a need.
There are many local parks and even YMCAs that have indoor tracks or other exercise options that can be a great solution for the colder weather. You could also head to a local mall, supermarket or warehouse-style store to get some steps in a climate-controlled environment.
In the digital age that we live in, there are numerous options available online to keep you moving. It’s simple to find free or low-cost exercise videos to follow along as you walk in place, practice aerobics, dance, or stretch. This is a great way to get movement at home with the support of professional guidance.
When you head out to the store, doctor or other errands, consider parking further away from the entrance. It may not seem like much, but those extra steps will add up faster than you might think. At a location with stairs? Even if you’re not able to climb the entire way up, consider opting for a flight or two and then finishing the journey in the elevator.
As with any other health decisions, please consult with your physician regarding how often and what types of exercise are safe for you add to your daily routine. We hope you’ll find new ways to prioritize movement all winter long.