The Importance of Staying Active this Winter
Let’s be honest; being regularly active can be quite the challenge. Despite our best intentions, life gets busy with work, family commitments, social life, etc., and there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get active. When you couple all that with cold weather, lots of snow and not a lot of daylight, motivation to stay active drops at the same rate the thermometer does. We all know it is essential to stay active, but do you realize how important it is and how to do it during the winter months successfully?
Recent studies have found that sitting for prolonged periods leads to thinning of an area of your brain that aide’s short memory and cognition. Think about that for a second! When we are sitting on our couch or chair at work, your brain is changing for the worse. How do we combat this? If you are a tv watcher, every commercial break, walk a few laps in your house, go up and down the stairs, go from sitting to standing a dozen times, or stand up and stretch those muscles. If work requires you to be chair bound, set a timer for every fifteen minutes or so and stand up, march in place, stretch a little, reach to the sky fifty times, do something! While this isn’t going to burn all sorts of calories or get you to your New Year’s resolution goal weight, it is enough to get that brain going a bit.
If you are like many of us, finding the motivation to be active is much easier when you can go outside, mow the yard, play with the kids, or take a stroll on a beautiful day. When the weather turns, so does our attitude towards moving. Take advantage of the opportunities winter provides us with and get some movement in. Shovel the sidewalk or driveway, at least partially, before firing up that snowblower. Find some used snowshoes on Facebook Market Place and develop a new winter hobby that gets you moving. Does going outside voluntarily in the winter sound utterly ridiculous? Find a local YMCA, school, or another fitness facility that offers a heated pool to exercise in at a reasonable rate. Pool exercise, whether it be swimming or other water-based movements, provides all sorts of excellent benefits to our musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.
It is easy to find all sorts of excuses not to be active, and that list gets longer when winter arrives. There a few key things to being successful:
- Finding a form of activity you like, or at least don’t hate, and doing that
- Utilize downtime during your day to get in 2-3 minutes of activity (coffee is brewing, waiting for kids to get ready, etc.)
- Plan your day around the activity
If we wait around for an open time in the schedule to get active, it won’t happen.