Ever notice how winter is suddenly and unexpectedly upon the doorstep? The time of year of wanting to hunker down into our homes, of weight gain, and for some, seasonal affective disorder (SAD-a depression affecting people over the shorter, darker days of the year).
Fend off SAD, maintain a healthy weight and get out of the house by staying active for at least 30 minutes per day.
But how? The weather is poor. It’s dark outside. It’s cold.
How? Get creative!
Activity does not need to be strenuous to be effective. Taking a walk can make a difference. To keep your bones and muscles strong during the season, consider these suggestions.
•Hit the the gym. It’s all there-cardio, weights, classes.
•Take the stairs. It is surprising how the extra step get your heart pumping. So take them whenever it is possible.
•Exercise while watching television. Use cans of food, light weights, bands, exercise ball while watching your favourite show. The upper body used less when one is not physically active. Ask your trainer at the gym for some simple exercises to do at home.
•Go to the pool. Just putting on a bathing suit shoos away cabin fever. Check local community pools for recreation swim hours or take a class.
•Clean the house. With sweeping, mopping, dusting and vacuuming, there will be no time for sitting.
•Throw a party. There’s the prepping, cleaning, even the entertaining to keep one moving. Play music to encourage dancing.
•Use the garage or unfinished basement. Move out the cars or push the boxes out of the way and join the kids or grand kids in this ideal space for kicking around a ball, skipping rope or even playing hopscotch. Nothing more invigorating than playing with children.
•Park for away. Walk more by parking a distance from the door. Even better, do so when visiting museums, art galleries, malls and the gym.
•Track animal footprints. A great family activity. With fresh snow, grab a camera and head outdoors, at home or on a trail. Take a photo and look up the prints later online. Do an internet search for “animal tracks.”
•Shovel snow. alone or as a family activity, when shoveling correctly, it is great exercise. And can lead to building a snowman, snow sculpture or snow angels. To prep, warm up by walking around the house first. Then take your time shoveling the snow. Use a small shovel, filling it only half full. Bend from the knees, not the back and lift with bent legs.
•Go sledding. The fun is in the downhill rush, but the exercise is in the uphill climb.
•Winter sports. There is so much to choose from – skiing, hiking, hocky, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing – to name a few.
Stay Healthy Outdoors
√Dress warmly. Cover bare skin with a hat, mittens, scarf, a thick jacket, snow pants even and two pairs of socks to reduce the risk of frostbite.
√Layer. As the body gets warmer with activity, clothes can be removed.
√Cover the head. 30 to 40% of the body’s heat is lost through the head.
√Drink water. Dehydration is as likely in the cold as it is in the heat.
√Wear sunscreen. The exposed face is as susceptible to the sun, on both sunny and cloudy days, in the winter as in the summer.
Enjoy the Winter season with all it’s frozen beauty.