If the shorter days and brisk temperatures make you want to huddle on your couch rather than exercise, you're not alone. Winter can chill the motivation of some of the most dedicated fitness buffs.
But the season doesn't have to stop you from keeping in shape. You can bring your exercise program indoors. Don't want to join a gym? There are lots of other activities everyone can enjoy without having to brave the elements. At least 10 minutes at a time of moderate- or vigorous-intensity exercise is all it takes.
Make sure to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program or increasing your physical activity. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week to meet the recommended guidelines. Are you more energetic? Another option is 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise! Also aim to do muscle-strengthening exercise at least two days a week.
Here are 10 ways to keep moving this winter:
- Do energetic housework. Vacuum, clean floors, wash windows or give the dog a bath. You may feel better — and you get the added benefit of having a clean home.
- Consider buying exercise equipment. It's a one-time expense and other family members can use it, too. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, that's OK. With some basics, like a few dumbbells, resistance bands and a stability ball, you can do many strength-training exercises. And a jump rope can give you a great aerobic workout.
- Watch TV or listen to an audiobook while you pedal on a stationary bicycle. You can check out audiobooks and music from the library.
- Squeeze in activity during TV commercials. Try doing pushups, sit-ups or lifting light weights during the breaks.
- Have your own personal dance session. Crank up the tunes and don't worry about anybody else seeing you. Or get the kids involved. Watching children dance can be a powerful reminder of what pure fun it can be.
- Work out to an exercise DVD. You can find these at your local library. Switch them around for variety and to keep from getting bored. Or download some audio fitness coaching.
- Go swimming at a local recreation center or college pool. Sessions are usually available for a small fee. Many have scheduled times for lap swimming.
- Walk the mall. Join a group that already exists or go by yourself. Some malls have signage marking distances and programs to help you keep track of your time.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Have a "walking meeting" with a co-worker to brainstorm ideas or plan a project.
- Organize an office bowling team. When you are part of a group, you motivate one another.
Brainstorm with a friend and add your own ideas to the list. When you keep moving during the winter months, your body will feel better. And the daily physical activity will help you beat the dreary-day blues.
Created on 12/14/2004
Updated on 01/03/2013
- United Sates Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical fitness guidelines for Americans.
- Helpguide.org. Easy exercise tips.
- Weight-control Information Network. Tips to help you get active.
- American Heart Association. Get moving: Easy tips to get active!