By Michael Cheney, N.P.
Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Hallmark Health System
One idea to stay active indoors: March or run in place while you’re watching TV.
Let’s be honest. Snow drifts and wind chills do not motivate most people to go running outside.
We are fortunate that the Boston area is pedestrian friendly, but in the wintertime, people tend to hibernate. Walking the dog or going for a run may be part of your normal exercise routine in the warmer months, but it can be very tempting to stay inside when the snow flies.
Even so, we recommend 30 minutes of activity per day to our patients, regardless of the weather. We deliberately use the term “activity” rather than “exercise.” For some, “exercise” means going to the gym and working out like crazy. “Activity” just means getting more movement in your life.
Anything that gets your heart pumping will have a positive impact on your health. I’ve made a list of 15 ways to stay active during the Boston winter, both indoors and outdoors.
Ideas 1-11: Getting active indoors when it’s cold outside
Motivation is critical to becoming more active. Many of us are at work all day and we’re seated most of the time. Then we have our responsibilities after work, whether it’s running to the grocery store or taking care of the kids. Motivation to work out after all that can vanish in an instant.
If there’s one thing I’d like you to remember, it’s this: Small changes to your activity level can make a difference. Just do something!
Even if you don’t want to go outside, there are several things you can do indoors to be more active. Here are a few ideas:
- March in place during TV commercials
- Go up and down the stairs in your house 10 times
- Jump rope
- Have your own dance party
- Do yoga
- Push-ups or sit-ups
Of course there are many exercises you can do indoors at a gym or other recreational facility. There are treadmills, elliptical machines, and weights. But there are other activities you may enjoy, too.
Have you considered these ideas?
- Join a spin class
- Try kick-boxing
- Swim laps
- Kettlebell exercises
Ideas 12-15: When you do venture outdoors
No matter how nasty the weather gets, you will have to be outside some of the time. Every time you drive somewhere, you make a decision: Hunt for the closest parking spot, or do your heart a favor by parking farther away from the entrance.
By the way, marching through snow is a great way to burn calories. And, the faster you move, the more body heat you’ll generate. If you’re willing to embrace the elements, you may want to try:
- Cross-country skiing
- Ice skating
- Snow shoeing
- Sledding or building a snowman
We’re here to help
If you’re stuck in a rut with your physical activity, or if you’re not sure how you’ll be able to stay active during the winter, we’re here to help. Many people set goals with the New Year, and often don’t follow-through with them long-term. We can help with that, too.
Being active 30 minutes a day has several health benefits, including lowering your risk for diabetes or prediabetes. If you already have those conditions, a half hour of daily activity is a more effective treatment than any medication.
During your appointment, we’ll talk about the activity you’re getting currently and brainstorm ways that you can be more active every day. You don’t have to make a dramatic change – sometimes it’s as simple as developing new habits.
Are you ready to be more active? Call us at (855) HHMA-DOC (1-855-446-2362) or schedule an appointment online.