Keep Exercising During the Winter Months
Posted: September 19, 2011
Daily exercise has many physical and psychological benefits including lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease, lowering high blood pressure, keeping bones strong, reducing the risk for diabetes, helping control diabetes, improving symptoms of depression, reducing pain associated with arthritis, and reducing the risk of falls. So don’t wait until the spring thaw to get active and be healthier!
Try some of the following suggestions from the University of Missouri Extension to have a more active lifestyle, whatever the weather:
- Fit in several short fitness breaks throughout the day. Health experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of movement on most days, but that time can be broken into shorter segments. Try a couple of 10 to 15 minute periods a day and vary the activities. For example, take a stretch break instead of a coffee break at work. Or use household chores like vacuuming or dusting as an opportunity to move vigorously. Get to work just 5 minutes early or stay just 5 minutes late to use the time to walk inside or out.
- Buy a piece of exercise equipment. A treadmill or stationary bicycle may be just the ticket for keeping you moving and motivated. Learn as much as you can before shopping, and consider purchasing gently used equipment rather than new. Try listening to music or books on tape or CD, watching TV, or reading a good book while on the treadmill or bike to keep your mind occupied and make the time fly.
Explore new activities. If the cold weather keeps you from participating in your usual activities, view this as a good opportunity to try something new. Include a mix of aerobic, flexibility and strength training activities. Try mall walking; indoor swimming or other water activities; or take dancing lessons. Treat yourself to a new aerobic dance video, or look for a yoga program on TV. Join an exercise class like Growing Stronger offered by Penn State Extension and The University of Scranton.
Growing Stronger is designed for adults 40 years and older and includes one hour of strength training exercises twice a week along with some nutritional information. Participants are given a number of tests before and after the 12 week program to determine how they have improved in strength and functional fitness.
If you are interested in participating, contact Penn State Cooperative Extension at 963-6842 to register.