MountainView Hospital - January 11, 2021

Staying active can be difficult during the cold winter months; between shorter days and lower temperatures, most people don't have the energy or motivation to work out. Unfortunately, this combined with high‐calorie dishes typically served during the holidays can make it easy to fall into poor health habits. By staying active during the winter months, however, you will not only stay trim, but also boost your mental and physical health.

Here's your guide to staying active and exercising safely this winter.

Motivating yourself to stay active

You already know that fitness and health go hand‐in‐hand, but do you know how working out helps your health precisely? As you decide how important exercise is in your daily routine, consider that exercise:

  • Keeps your weight down.
  • Promotes a healthy heart.
  • Makes the body more efficient at absorbing oxygen.
  • Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Keeps blood pressure at the ideal level.
  • Gets you up and moving for a healthier body and mind.

The best types of exercise

Getting enough exercise doesn't necessarily mean spending hours at the gym. There are plenty of other more natural ways to get exercise.

Follow these simple tips for staying active:

  • Exercise in short bursts: Even the busiest person can squeeze ten minutes of exercise into the day! For example, taking a ten‐minute walk during your lunch break three days a week will help lower your blood pressure and support better heart health.
  • Take small steps: Getting enough exercise throughout the day doesn't require you to make an event of it. Take measures to get moving, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing lunge exercises during the evening news. It takes more effort, but these little healthy lifestyle changes pave the way to better physical fitness.
  • Don't forget strength training: A cardio workout is easy to get by jogging, biking, dancing or even bowling, but weight lifting and strength exercises are also important. Try lifting weights in your living room to your favorite music for 20 minutes three days a week. Your efforts will strengthen your muscles and improve your overall health.

Prioritize safety

Whether you're running outside or practicing an at‐home workout, it's important to exercise safely so that you can protect your joints and stay injury‐free.

Exercise safely by:

  • Dressing appropriately: Exercising outside can help you get your daily dose of vitamin D – just be sure to layer up and protect your extremities from the cold.
  • Wearing the right shoes: Whether you're walking, jogging or biking, wearing the proper footwear ensures that your body has the stability and support it needs.
  • Warming up: Always remember to stretch before a workout to warm up your joints, improve your flexibility and release any muscle tension you may have.
  • Hydrating: Drinking enough water every day is an important way to lubricate your joints and avoid dehydration while you exercise.

Talk to your doctor if you have been inactive, are managing a chronic health condition or want to discuss the right workout plan for you. Empower your health this year and keep moving!