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Stay Fit This Winter

By Allie Dhuyvetter, R.D., Program Assistant – NDSU Extension Service
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”   Hebrews 12:1

This verse is a great motivator to encourage all of us to continue to be active this winter. Staying active in the winter can be a challenge at times. We may leave for work in the darkness of early morning and return home in the darkness of early evening. The cold temperatures common in the northern U.S. this time of year are even more of a hindrance to making it to the gym.

We can, however, overcome these challenges.  Consider these ways to be active (and stay healthy!) during the winter months.

  • Dress in layers before you head outdoors. That way you can peel layers off as your body temperature rises.
  • Warm up before you go outside, so the drop in temperature is less of a shock. Do some jumping jacks or jog in place for five to ten minutes before going out.
  • If you like to hike, give cross-country skiing a try. Try to rent or borrow cross country skis.
  • Try snowshoeing!  Snowshoeing can be easier than cross-country skiing if you’ve never tried either. Snowshoes may also be available to rent in your area.
  • If you have kids or grandkids, take them sledding and participate in the fun!
  • Bundle up and take a walk around the block two or three times on warmer days.
  • Build a snowman or make a snow angel.
  • Go skating. Many outdoor skating rinks pop up in the winter and are free to the public.
  • Take your family skiing or snowboarding.
  • Shovel. Seriously, this can be a great activity. Use a small shovel so you aren’t tempted to lift too much.  Check out the “Scoop on Shoveling Snow Safely” included with this newsletter.
  • Build snow forts and play outside.

If the dark mornings and evenings are stopping you from going to the gym:

  • Vary your routine and work out over lunch. Take a brisk walk with coworkers or try an exercise class if your work is located near a gym.
  • Put in an exercise DVD at home. If you don’t have any DVDs, visit your local library to see if check-out copies are available.
  • Invest in exercise equipment for your home. If you’re not looking to spend much, check out stores that carry used equipment that can be purchase for a fraction of the price of new equipment.

Try lots of fun ways to keep moving this winter. If you have trouble staying motivated, call on a friend or spouse to help keep you accountable. For more ideas, visit and stay moving!

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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