Winterize Your Exercise
Keeping physically active through the winter helps control your weight and also reduces your risk of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It may even help protect you from the sniffles! According to the American Heart Association, exercise boosts your immunity during cold and flu season.
Add some variety to your winter workouts by trying outdoor activities, such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Or get your heart pumping by tossing snowballs, building a snowman, or sliding downhill on a sled (and then hauling it back uphill again).
Snow Day Tips
When the thermometer plunges, a few extra steps can help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors:
- Do a warm-up first. Your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are more likely to get injured when cold.
- Dress in light layers. That way, you can remove or replace clothing as needed. The innermost layer should be a fabric that holds body heat and doesn’t absorb sweat. Wool, silk, or polypropylene work best (avoid cotton because it traps moisture next to your skin and will actually make you feel colder). Next, add a layer of fleece. End with an outer layer that protects you from blustery winds, rain, and snow.
- Don’t forget your hat. Up to 40% of your body heat can be lost from your head.
- Drink plenty of fluids. It’s easy to get dehydrated in cold weather, so be sure to bring your water bottle.
Move It Inside
When the weather outside is frightful, another option is to move your activities inside. Now is the perfect time for that kickboxing, yoga, or salsa aerobics online class you’ve always wanted to take.
Also, a new fitness toy—such as a Hula-Hoop, stability ball, hand weights, resistance band, exercise DVD, or fitness video game—can boost your motivation. So keep moving! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to hibernate.
Phone a Physician
Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve exercised and you’re not sure how to get started. Or maybe you aren’t certain which winter activity is best for your specific health needs. No matter the question, it’s always a good idea to pick up the phone and call a provider! Or use your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to attend a Virtual Visit.