When winter winds start blowing, and temperatures plummet, getting out and physically active is not a top priority for many of us. While curling up on the sofa sipping hot cocoa until spring may sound good, it isn’t good for us.
What the experts say
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), being physically active is one of the most important steps to improve or maintain our health. HHS issued guidelines for all age groups in its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The critical recommendations for adults include the following:
- Move more and sit less. Engaging in some physical activity is better than none.
- Adults need moderate-intensity physical activity for 150 to 300 minutes each week. If vigorous aerobic exercises or cross-training is more your thing, plan for 75 to 150 minutes per week.
- Include muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups. You should plan for moderate or greater-intensity workouts two or more times per week.
So what’s the best way to get it all done?
Best ways to stay active in winter
Whether you get your physical activity indoors or outdoors, the key is to be as active as possible And have fun doing it! The best exercise is the one you’ll do consistently. Try these ideas for keeping active in your winter wonderland:
Check the weather forecast and plan ahead
Your local weather forecast will typically give you several days’ notice of what the weather is up to. This way, you can prepare for your week’s activities accordingly.
When the weather cooperates, schedule time to get out and appreciate nature. Bundle up and enjoy a stroll around a local park or safe neighborhood.
Layer your clothing
Wear your comfortable clothing in several layers to easily remove items as you warm up. Layers keep you warm when you first start, then help you guard against overheating and sweating, eventually making you cold.
Don’t want to go out today? Tune into an online workout site, a live Zoom event, or an exercise class on your favorite social network. Or spend some time dancing like no one is watching! Free or low-cost videos are available online to help you complete a great aerobic exercise session or stretching and strength-building classes.
Bad weather days
If inclement weather keeps you indoors, use it as an excuse to catch up on cleaning and organizing. Chores such as sweeping, vacuuming, and cleaning all count as physical activity. Walking or running up and down the stairs is a great workout any day.
Join a recreational league or intramural sport group
Joining an intramural sports group or recreational club is a great way to get in a workout and network, build connections, and learn new skills. Look for groups offering soccer, basketball, volleyball, and more.