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10 Tips to Stay Active This Winter

When cold winter temperatures keep us indoors, what can we do to stay fit?

During cold weather, we might prefer to lounge on the couch with a hot cup of cocoa or tea and a good book instead of venturing outdoors to go to a gym or indoor walking track. However, we all know the value of fitness.

When cold winter temperatures keep us indoors, what can we do to stay fit? All adults should aim for at least 2½ hours or 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every little bit of fitness adds to the goal. Remember, doing something is better than doing nothing.

Here are some tips:

  • Start a physical activity tradition. Instead of “cozying up” by the TV, bundle up and take a walking tour of holiday lights after dinner.
  • Think differently about seasonal chores. Make tasks such as shoveling and house cleaning to prepare for guests fun. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done as a team.
  • Be a kid again. Go sledding, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Make a snowman, a snow fort or snow angels.
    • Holiday gift idea: Check out second-hand sporting goods stores for discounted prices on skates, skis, snowshoes and other outdoor equipment.
  • Take 10. Do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time. Take a 10-minute walk at lunchtime or after school.
  • Turn off the TV. Set a rule that no one can spend longer than two hours per day playing video games, watching TV and using the computer (except for school work).
  • Play indoor physical activity games. Go on scavenger hunts or play charades. For example, be an Olympic skater or a star basketball player.
  • Find an indoor place to walk. Check if a local school gym is open to the public for walking. Walk at a mall. The average supercenter is 179,000 square feet (a mile is 5,280 feet).
    • Be cautious when walking at malls, though. Don’t be enticed to overspend your budget or have high-calorie snacks along your route. Bring a bottle of water.
  • Turn your kitchen into a gym.
    • Use your countertop for balance and stretching exercises.
    • Try doing “toe stands.” Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Stand on your tiptoes for a minute.
    • March or jog in place.
    • Use cans of vegetables as weights; do sets of 10 arm raises or as many as you can.
    • Take a break to dance with your cooking partner.
  • Help others while building your fitness minutes. Volunteer at a senior center, help with holiday drives or help assemble food or gift baskets.
  • Set a physical activity goal. Write it down and chart your progress on a calendar.
    • Holiday gift idea: Invest in pedometers (step counters) for the family. Write down your steps every day. Build to 10,000 steps a day.

By: Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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