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Let’s Get Physical! How to Stay Active in the Midwest in Any Season

Did you struggle to stay active during the cold winter months? If you don’t have access to a gym membership or workout equipment at home, your options for physical activity may seem limited.

How much exercise do I need?

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. Examples of moderate aerobic activity include walking, water aerobics, yoga, weight lifting and snowshoeing. Vigorous aerobic activity includes running, cross-country skiing, bicycling at a fast pace, and team sports such as soccer and football.

A general goal is about 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least twice a week also is recommended.

Too busy for 30 minutes? No sweat! Even 10-minute intervals of physical activity can count toward your half hour goal. Remember, any activity is better than no activity.

Try these easy ways to stay active:

  • Explore free walking areas in your area.
    • Your community may have free walking areas where you can get in your steps. This is a cost-effective way to remain physically active during the winter months. Check your local government website for locations and hours of operation.
    • Note: Some location availability may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Call locations to verify availability and hours of operation.
  • Check out indoor gyms.
    • If you’re interested in purchasing a gym membership, check your gym’s website to see if it offers trial periods so you can get a feel for your workout area before purchasing a membership.
  • Try some home-based physical activity options: Not comfortable leaving the house? No worries! Try these easy activity ideas from the comfort of your own home.
    • Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for great examples and tips for staying active. Check out the article on chair yoga to improve your posture and increase your activity in the workplace. 
    • Try some workout videos: Youtube has thousands of at-home workout videos you can access for free. Make sure to try new videos to get your body moving in different ways.

Be wary of nonofficial online fitness sources because the advice provided may not be fact-checked. Reliable information can be found from licensed professionals and government websites. Remember to listen to your body and move in a way that feels good for you.

For more examples of moderate and vigorous aerobic exercises, please check out the following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication


By Alliana Houfek, NDSU Extension Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter, fca news

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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