Get Your Winter Fitness Groove On: How to Stay Active When You’re Freezing Your Buns Off

Colder weather and shorter days make it tempting to stay inside and curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and a hot drink. If you live where winters are cold and bleak, you need to get your winter fitness groove on by staying active and moving with purpose all season long. Here are my tips for movin’ and groovin’ your way to better winter health.

Let health and happiness motivate you.

Moving with purpose every day is crucial to maintaining good health, but it’s especially important to keep moving throughout the cold winter months. Staying active this time of year helps keep you healthier and happier. Here’s why:

  • Exercising regularly strengthens your immune system so that you can more effectively ward off infections. This comes in handy during the winter when colds, viruses and flu are most prevalent.
  • Approximately 11 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Daily exercise reduces stress and releases feel-good endorphins that keep those winter blues at bay.
  • Getting out into nature exposes you to fresh air and sunlight, helping to clear your mind, fight depression and increase your Vitamin D.
  • Winter weight gain is common because it’s easy to turn to comfort foods that warm you up and make you feel good. Staying active helps you safely manage your weight.

Warm up to better tolerate the cold.

If you dread that icy burst of air that hits you when you first step out into the cold, follow this simple advice that makes it easier to head outdoors and preps your body for a workout.

Take 5 to 10 minutes before heading outside to warm up. While still indoors, try jogging in place, stretching or doing jumping jacks. Any low level aerobic exercise will do the trick. The goal is to raise your body temperature before stepping outside. This way, when you go out into the cold air, you’ll already be warm.

Dr. Nandi's Health QuizTry fun winter-friendly activities.

Changing up your exercise routine challenges your body and keeps things interesting. Satisfy your adventurous side by going cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or hiking in the snow. If you’re a bike enthusiast, you can even go mountain biking on packed snow.

The physical workout, the scenery and the adrenaline rush provide an exciting and unique way to keep healthy and fit.

Bring your workout indoors.

For those times when an outdoor activity just isn’t possible, take advantage of your indoor options.

Whether you have access to a gym or prefer to work out at home, there are so many ways to get yourself moving. If you can’t get out for a bike ride, take a spin class or use a stationary bike. Run or walk on a treadmill. If you have access to fitness classes, either at a gym or using workout DVDs at home, take a class (spin, yoga, dance, Pilates, swimming … you name it!).

However you choose to move, the important thing is that you get moving.

Don’t let cold winter weather prevent you from staying active. Move with purpose every day to help fight against disease, maintain your weight and improve your mood. Get outside as much as you can to enjoy winter-friendly activities that keep you happy, healthy and moving. Even if you’re freezing your butt off.

If you have questions about how to stay active for better health, please send me an email to share your thoughts.

Make healthy living a part of every day.

The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
Dr. Nandi

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Partha’s Prescriptions

  • Get moving. Exercising 5 times a week for 30 minutes a day relieves stress, increases positivity and combats winter depression. Don’t have a gym membership? Take a short or long walk out in the fresh air whenever you can.
  • Brighten up your surroundings. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), consider light therapy. Sitting near a light therapy box for 30 minutes a day causes a chemical change in the brain that improves mood and symptoms. I recommend using a 10,000 lux light box. About 80% of people with SAD have achieved great relief this way.
  • Make your health a priority year-round. Curious to know if you suffer from one of the most overlooked health risks without even knowing it? Take my quiz to see if you have it and how you can eliminate it from your life!

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