Winter is here and so is the cold weather. Staying motivated about your fitness can be a challenge when it’s cold outside! Exercise has benefits all year, even during the winter. Winter brings cold weather and, for some, sickness, the “blues,” and isolation. So don’t put your exercise gear away – instead, stay active!
Q: How do I stay fit in the winter months?
A: Stay active! Choose an activity that you already do, or now might be the time to try something new. There are types of exercise that can be done outside or inside. Choose one or more that you might enjoy.
Exercising outdoors in the winter
If you want to walk, ski, ice skate, shovel snow, or do other outdoor activities when it’s cold outside:
- Check the weather forecast. If it’s very windy or cold, exercise inside with a fitness video and go out another time.
- Also watch out for snow and icy sidewalks.
- Warm up your muscles first. Try walking or light arm pumping before you go out.
- Wear several layers of loose clothing. The layers will trap warm air between them.
- Avoid tight clothing, which can keep your blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.
- Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.
- Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
Exercising indoors in the winter
- If you enjoy walking, go to the local mall and walk around inside or use a treadmill at home or at a gym.
- You can take a tai chi class as tai chi helps to reduce stress; improve posture, balance and general mobility; and increase muscle strength in the legs.
- There is also yoga. Regular yoga practice benefits people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains – including lower back pain – depression and stress.
- You can also join the local YMCA or fitness club to do activities such as swimming or rock climbing.
- If home is where you want to be, you could use a workout video, do routine exercises, or use at-home equipment (weights, an exercise bike, jump rope, etc.).
Exercising daily can help prolong your life and improve the quality of it. It’s important to include aerobic activity, strength training, balance exercises, and stretching in your routine. Start slowly and build your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility gradually.
Almost anyone, at any age, can exercise safely and get meaningful benefits. Staying safe while you exercise is always important, whether you’re just starting a new activity or haven’t been active for a long time.
You can find more information from Go4Life, a fitness campaign of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging.
The Healthy Living Program at LifePath can help you exercise more and develop healthy habits.
Remember, keep moving!