If you want to know how to stay fit in winter, you’re in luck. You know it’s so good for your health, but did you know it could be fun!? The only way to do that is to MOVE your body. That’s a given, but let’s learn some fun ways to increase your level of physical activity when the outdoor temperatures start to drop.
When the cold air blows in and the outdoor temperatures start to plummet, it can be tempting to snuggle underneath the warmth of your blankets and engage in your own form of human hibernation.
When it comes to your health, this is not the way to go.
Inactivity can take an immense toll on your mental and physical health. The effects of becoming inactive during the cold months of the year include – but, are not at all limited to – a reduction in muscle mass, increased blood pressure, increased risk for the development of severe illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, increased anxiety levels, and the onset of depression and the development of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Here are 7 great ways to stay fit in winter. Read on for more about each one.
- Embrace the Cold
- Sunlight in Winter
- Have Some Winter Fun
- Holiday Shopping
- Indoor Sports
- Start Spring Cleaning Early
The Benefits of Staying Fit in Winter
Naturally, physical activity offers many benefits when it comes to your health.
Did you know, though, that engaging in physical activity in the cold months offers its own benefits?
For starters, you do not have to worry over the heat or the humidity. This means that you may be able to spend more time engaging in activity; therefore, it may be possible to burn more calories.
If you are active outdoors, you will get to soak up some sunshine. Not only will this help with your mood, but you will be able to absorb higher levels of Vitamin D.
In the cold months, bacterial and viral infections are on the rise. By staying active, you will experience a natural boost in your immunity. If you fail to engage in activities during the cold months, you may become more prone to illnesses and other health-related complications.
Embrace the Cold
While it may be tempting to stay indoors during the colder months, you should go outdoors. Just make certain that you are dressed appropriately so that you protect yourself from the elements.
As mentioned previously, you will burn more calories when engaging in activities in cooler temperatures. In addition to this, the low temperatures will actually activate various systems in your body. Your metabolism will increase in order to create body heat.
Going outside while properly dressed in the winter naturally strengthens the immune system and the musculoskeletal system.
Additionally, the thyroid will be conditioned. Your lung capacity will be increased. When combined, all of this additional activity in the body will provide a boost to your health – even if you are doing nothing more than taking a little walk or moving from one location to another while engaging in that holiday shopping.
Sunlight in Winter
When engaging in activities, you should try to do so when the sun is out. The days are shorter, so this means you will need to start earlier in the day, but it will reap many rewards for your mental and physical health.
One of the biggest advantages to being out in the sun is that you will get a major dose of Vitamin D. This helps to keep your bones strong and promotes the absorption of calcium within the body. This vitamin helps to stimulate the pancreas so that it is able to create insulin. It plays a major role in the regulation of your immune system. It also helps reduce your blood pressure and the chance for developing serious illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Exposure to the sun alone, offers numerous benefits to your health. Top that off with an activity like walking the park, ice skating, or hiking, and you experience even more health-related benefits. Plus, the extra light will help ward off depression, anxiety, and the development of seasonal-affective disorder.
Have Some Winter Fun
Think back to when you were a child. What did you enjoy doing during the winter months? Was it making snowmen or having a snowball fight? Did you enjoy lying on the ground and making snow angels? Did you enjoy ice skating at the rink or the local frozen pond? Rekindle that joy by engaging in a little winter fun!
Did you know that if you have a snowball fight you can up to 500 calories per hour?
If you go ice skating, you can burn this amount and more! Making that snowman can burn upwards of 300 calories per hour.
Combine this with all of that sunlight that you will be exposed to and you will be providing a major boost to your overall health and immune system!
Did you know that you can burn more than just the money in your wallet when you go holiday shopping? Yes, that’s right!
You can burn a massive number of calories by engaging in this activity – well, engaging in holiday shopping in the traditional sense!
Go out to those malls and department stores with the list that you have made and checked twice! Not only will buying gifts for your loved ones raise your spirits (which will instantly ward off depression), it will also burn calories, help in building muscles, and help in strengthening your bones! While shopping, avoid buying with credit.
It has been found that the stress of buying with credit will put a strain on your health. Instead, buy with cash! Don’t set yourself up for sticker shock! By the end of your trip, you will be happy, energetic, and stronger! When you get home, all of that gift wrapping will help build up your body even more!
Indoor Sporting Activities
When the cold sets in, you don’t have to just engage in outdoor activities. You can also engage in indoor sporting activities.
You could swim at a local club that has an indoor heated pool, play basketball, try out some hockey, go bowling, go dancing, or engage in any other indoor sports activity that is available where you live.
The goal is to move. It does not matter how, when, or where – just move.
The movement will benefit your health in so many different ways. In addition to providing a boost to your body, all those movements associated with the various indoor sporting activities that you engage in will also provide a tremendous boost to your spirits; therefore, providing a major boost to your overall mental health!
During the winter months, you can get moving by volunteering.
During this time of the year, there are so many different charities, organizations, and businesses that are in need of volunteers to help accomplish their goals.
You could take up activities at a local shelter, volunteer to cook, serve, and/or clean at a local soup kitchen, you could participate in cleaning outdoor areas in your community, volunteer to help pack and ship boxes, shovel snow in your neighborhood, help the elderly with their holiday cooking and shopping, walk dogs, or even set up a volunteer gift wrapping station!
Every single volunteer activity offers you the opportunity to move and get healthy!
Plus, you will feel really good about yourself and the contributions that you make. Not only will you generate the spirit of the season, you will lift your own spirits – which is amazing for your mental and physical health!
Get an Early Start on Spring Cleaning
We all engage in some type of spring cleaning, but who says it has to wait until spring? Get an early jump on it! Instead of “spring cleaning”, dub it “New Year cleaning”!
Prepare for the upcoming new by eliminating and/or cleaning out the old! You could clean carpets, dust your home, integrate some new window treatments, clean out the cabinets, tackle those closets, clean out the basement, clear the garage, and even take it outdoors and get rid of the weeds or redesign your landscape theme!
There are many ways to clean up during the winter months. Wouldn’t it be nice to start the New Year without all of the old weighing you down? Then, when spring comes around, you can get back outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather!
Not Just Workouts
Just move! You do not have to engage in strenuous workouts or even “exercise” in the traditional sense. When the weather cools off, you should be heating up! There are many creative ways to get moving this winter.
It does not matter if you are volunteering, doing some cleaning around your house or yard, going and taking care of your holiday shopping, engaging in indoor or outdoor sporting activities, taking a walk during a bright, sunny day, or clearing out those lungs in the nice, cold, crisp air – all of it will benefit your health. It will build you up physically and it will build you up mentally!
If you would like more ideas on physical activities that you may engage in as the winter sets in, you may contact us here at Back to Motion Physical Therapy today to learn about our classes and services by calling the following number: 303-832-5577