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Staying Active in the Winter

By: John Sisneros, PA-C

Winter is here! The cold weather has set in and the days are shorter. By the end of the workday, it’s dark outside and nothing sounds better than curling up under a warm blanket while watching your favorite television show.

The winter is often a time when people eat more, exercise less, and gain excess weight in the process. Despite the frigid temperatures, there are many ways a person can stay active and get fit during this time. Now is the time to join a health club or fitness center – preferably something that’s within your budget and close to your home. The more convenient it is, the easier it will be to start and maintain a good workout routine.

If a gym membership is not in the budget there are plenty of great in-home exercises that a person can do. YouTube is a great resource for video-guided exercise routines. My personal favorite is the “7-Minute Workout.” The exercises in this video can be performed by people of most fitness levels. As you become more fit, challenge yourself to do more reps of the exercises and eventually you’ll be able to perform the entire 7- minute routine twice, back-to-back.

There are also various fitness apps available for your smartphone. Search “daily workouts” in your app market and the possibilities are endless. The apps often tailor the workouts to your fitness level and guide you through daily workouts to help you meet your goals. You’ll have to find an app that best suits you, depending on your goals to improve strength, increase aerobic fitness, and flexibility, etc. The magic of getting fit is not in the app you choose but finding exercises you can reasonably do consistently.

Not every day in the winter is unbearable; take advantage of the nice days by getting some sunshine and relieving stress. Winter sports are another way to get great exercise. Take advantage of the snow on the mountains and cold weather with skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or ice-skating. Use the snow in your yard to make a snowman with your kids or pull them around in a sled.

The current recommendations for improved health outcomes are to exercise at least 3 days per week for 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise which includes brisk walking. Decreasing your sugar and carbohydrate intake will help you lose weight. Don’t wait for the New Year to begin exercising. Start eating better and exercising today to experience the benefits of a healthier you.