To be honest, I could be happy curled up all winter next to the woodstove, never taking a step outside. But that is both impractical and unhealthy. So I have set up a few disciplines in my life that get my old, tired body moving and some fresh air in my lungs. There are also a lot of things to get you moving that I don’t do. So here are a few exercise ideas for the winter:
Use exercise equipment
Because I am a proud tightwad, I cannot understand why people will spend money on gym memberships when they can buy a piece of equipment for the basement or spare bedroom that will do the same thing. Personally, I do not have a basement or a spare bedroom. But I do have the smallest exercise bike you can buy at the end of the hallway. If your winter weather prevents you from getting outside, get on that piece of equipment. Walk, run, or ride a couple of miles a few days a week to get your heart rate up and your lungs working. Then, come spring, you won’t be struggling to walk around the park with your child.
Move your body
Get out of the chair and move. Everything has a remote control now—televisions, DVD players, and stereos. No longer attached to the wall, we carry our phones around in our pockets. Even recliners come with coolers in the arms so that you don’t even need to get up during the commercial breaks for a cold drink. For the person that sits behind a desk all day, these conveniences do not do us any favor. Purposefully move your body.
Take out the dog
We have a little dog that needs to be walked on a leash. It is so easy for me to ask a child to take the dog out when he needs to go. But if I go out with the dog, I benefit as well. I don’t just walk him to the bush and right back into the house. When the little doggie is done with his business, we walk around the garden, we go visit the goat, and we get more than a few minutes of fresh air. If you don’t have a pet that forces you to get outdoors, give yourself another reason. Walk around the block or to the neighbor’s.
A few other ideas that would benefit the winter couch potato are:
- Take the stairs—if you work in an office building, use the stairs rather than the elevator. Even if you took them only the first few flights, you are doing better than if you don’t use the stairs at all.
- Use an exercise video—whether you like to dance, kick, or stretch, a DVD exists to encourage you in it. Pop one of those in the player after work rather than stare at mindless television programs.
- Leave the house—Walk at an indoor location like a mall or high school. If you need accountability, join a walking group or find a partner to go with you a few days a week. You can also swim at an indoor pool, skate in an indoor rink, or take an exercise or aerobics class.
In the winter we may forget to drink our water. Remember, it is just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as in the summer. Also, stretching is more critical in the cold as our muscles tend to cramp more and it is easier to pull a muscle. Your body needs a workout in the winter months just as much as in the summer. So get out there and try these exercise ideas for winter.
Photo by Markusram