It’s a fact: People who are physically active live longer and healthier lives, are more productive and more likely to avoid illness and injury. Sounds great, right? So why is it so difficult for many of us to make the time for activity and exercise? Especially as we head into the winter season and the temperatures start to drop? Let’s blame Netflix.
But – with a little education and inspiration – it’s completely possible to commit to being active and protect your health and well-being this winter. Just remember that ANY movement makes a difference. If your heart rate is elevated and your breathing increased – you’re exercising. Go, you!
Here are some ideas to run with (get it?):
Get to the Gym
This one’s obvious. If you’re going to pay for a membership at your local gym, yoga studio or rec centre, try to make the most of it – whether it’s early mornings, evenings or weekends. Check out the seasonal program guide and try out a new class. Get your whole family involved as a way of spending time together and leading by example.
Be Productive AND Fit at Home
Efficiency is the name of the game when you can scratch off your to-do list around the house while working up a sweat at the same time. Many household chores are considered moderate physical activities (a 5 or 6 on the intensity scale of 0 to 10). They burn calories and meet your exercise goals.
Indoor and outdoor activities include folding laundry, vacuuming, de-cluttering your basement or garage and raking leaves. If you’re in a snowy climate, get that shovel out. Shovelling snow works your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms and can torch more than 200 calories in 30 minutes.
Have Fun Outdoors
Remember when you used to go outside and just play? This winter, try channeling your inner child and bring the same enthusiasm to ice skating, sledding or tobogganing, or cross-country or downhill skiing. You can even give snowshoeing a try and burn up to a whopping 1,000 calories per hour!
Any time spent in nature is a great opportunity to unplug and take a break from technology overload, get a natural dose of Vitamin D and improve your overall mood.
Dress the Part
If you’re going outside in cold temperatures, make sure you’re dressed appropriately. If you are prepared, comfortable and feeling good in your gear, you may be more inclined to get moving.
Layers are key. Avoid cotton and instead choose moisture-wicking fabrics used in high-performance sportswear to keep your skin dry. Then you can add a layer of fleece and a thin, waterproof layer on top if you like. Keep everything together by the front door for easy access.
Get the Right Tools
Exercise doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you’re willing to invest in some tools to help you stay motivated and reach your fitness goals, you will surely reap the benefits. A popular personal device like a Fitbit or Apple Watch is fully loaded and customizable. In your home and office, solutions like a Treadmill Desk or Active Stool can help integrate movement into your day while you still get all your work done.
Knowledge is power. Ask a friend or family member for their best gadgets and tips. What works for them may work for you, too.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to take a break from being active. To stay healthy, keep digging deep and finding the motivation to move instead of hibernating all winter.
Your goal as an adult aged 18-64 should be at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
Write it down. Tell a friend to keep you honest. Make it fun. Do what you can.
Small wins lead to big results.